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Nurses fear move to 'privatise' nursing care in Bristol


Nurses and midwives working for an acute trust in the South West are opposing what they claim is a plan to “privatise” NHS nursing provision.

North Bristol Trust is planning a new health and social care centre. It has invited bids from organisations interested in providing nursing care in an arrangement believed to be one of the first of its kind.

The facility, which will also be built and owned by the private sector, will comprise a nursing home plus 68 community hospital beds. One nursing team would work across the whole centre. The idea is the trust will be able to make use of nursing home beds, for example to reduce delayed discharges.

Nursing Times understands none of the bidders currently shortlisted by the trust as potential providers of nursing care are NHS organisations although that could change.

Pam Ward, a midwife and the trust’s joint union committee secretary, said: “This will mean that nursing staff would, within this facility, be employed by the private sector, nursing NHS patients.

“Assuming that the quality of care is maintained to a high standard, profits can only be achieved by reducing the terms and conditions of these staff working for them. We feel that this is yet another attempt to privatise the NHS and to put vulnerable patients in the care of profit orientated companies.”

Trust director of projects David Powell told Nursing Times the intention was not to transfer existing trust staff to the new centre, as it was an additional facility that would provide non-acute care.

He said: “This is something new. We see it as a sister service to our main provision.”


Readers' comments (20)

  • tinkerbell

    I would question whether we are still a democracy actually.

    When an unelected government (bunch of gits as i prefer to call them today) bring in a society changing law without mentioning it in any manifesto prior to election other than saying 'the NHS is safe in our hands'.

    They declined to allow the risk register to be published, despite public uproar, the risk register is leaked, after the event, mind you, that shows over 20 areas alllegedly that are highlighted in red and show that these reforms will cause disastrous effects to the NHS, but too late already as now an Act in law.

    When a court rules that the risk register should be published and the tories totally ignore the ruling.

    When allegedly 80% of wealth is owned by 1% of the population, so that the remaining 99% of us have gone over our credit limit and have to pay for the bankers greed. How much does that leave us in our purse/wallets at the end of pay day?

    Do the maths.

    Tory spivs = bunch of pirates and we're the hostages.

    I've been doing my homework and its not looking good to put it mildly.

    Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.

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  • tinkerbell

    Mags | 28-Mar-2012 11:27 am

    Mags just another top tip as a mentor i also tell my students to look on the comments on NT. It has taught me some.

    I also show them who i am as tinkerbell but tell them they must not break my cover.

    Reading all the articles here, nursing opinion, what lights their fire, what doesn't.
    Those who are better informed than i about this political mess etc.,learned at an earlier age than I, yada, yada.

    Another education all in itself.

    I am now better able to give an informed opinion, rather than talking out the back of my arse about politics. Rather than just say 'i don't like ya, you nasty bastards, i can now back up my my rationale'.

    Comment is free - the facts are sacred. C. Scott.

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  • tinkerbell

    I have just received a reply from the Department of Health following an email i sent to andrew lansley re privatising OUR NHS.

    Does anyone want me to post it here so they can have a read. It's very long winded and as clear as mud.

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  • tinkerbell | 28-Mar-2012 1:12 pm

    Absolutely Tink.

    tinkerbell | 28-Mar-2012 7:55 pm

    It would be interesting to see if the reply you got is as vapid and without content as the usual government replies.

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  • tinkerbell

    Mags | 29-Mar-2012 0:08 am

    Well it's good reading if you need something to knock you off to sleep. Just going to find it and post it now.

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  • tinkerbell

    Our ref: DE00000686120


    Thank you for your email of 6 March to Andrew Lansley about the removal of the private patient income cap for NHS foundation trusts. I have been asked to reply on the Secretary of State's behalf.

    Removal of the cap is not intended to allow the wholesale expansion of direct private patient services, but to give foundation trusts more opportunities for innovation and to generate additional income to improve NHS services. With no shareholders or obligation to distribute surpluses, any non-NHS income is reinvested in the organisation to benefit NHS patients.

    Moreover, the term ‘private patient income cap’ is a misnomer: the cap captures a host of other activities, which include joint ventures, research, and the sale of pharmaceuticals, laboratory tests, technological developments and other intellectual property to private healthcare providers in the UK and abroad.

    NHS foundation trusts are, and will remain, a part of the NHS, and their principal legal purpose – to provide goods and services for the NHS – will be unchanged.

    Foundation trusts must continue to meet their contractual obligations to provide high-quality NHS services and meet waiting times, which are an article of the NHS Constitution. The 2012/13 Operating Framework sets out that trusts must ensure that 92 per cent of patients receive treatment within 18 weeks.

    The Health and Social Care Act requires foundations trust to explain in their annual reports how their non-NHS income is affecting NHS patients, which will allow governors and the local community to judge how non-NHS income is being used. Furthermore, the Act gives foundation trust governors, who represent the public and NHS staff, powers to require directors to attend a special meeting where they can vote on motions about the performance of the trust and of its directors. Should an organisation pursue non-NHS activity in a way that does not increase benefits for the trust’s members and the public, governors will be able to hold directors to account. Governors retain the power to remove the chair and non-executive directors of the trust’s board of directors.

    Revenue from treating NHS patients cannot therefore be used to subsidise the costs of treating private patients. The Department would expect the regulator, Monitor, to prohibit and enforce this where necessary. In addition, foundation trusts will be required to produce separate accounts for their NHS and private-funded work. If a foundation trust has increased its non-NHS income by more than five per cent as a proportion of its total income in a year, the Department would expect Monitor to review whether it needs to intervene to safeguard NHS services.

    I hope this reply is helpful.

    Yours sincerely,

    Russ Hope
    Customer Service Centre
    Department of Health


    Please do not reply to this email. To contact the Department of Health, please visit the 'Contact DH' page on the Department’s website, where you can also view our performance against quarterly service targets.

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  • tinkerbell

    sounds like a right load of bullshit to me. Can't understand a word of it. Can anyone out there explain what the hell it all means?

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  • as previous business plans failed a new or revised on is urgently needed, such as that outlined above, to help generate income necessary to improve services by investing in new resources and more staff.

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  • tinkerbell | 29-Mar-2012 0:51 am

    It is bullsh*t Tink. There are rather too many points being used which are couched in terms such as,
    "..... is not intended to....."; "....they can vote on motions about the performance of the trust and of its directors.";"The Department would expect ...", etc. However, there is little actual substance.

    It is a woolly reply containing nothing that we didn't already know about the demolition government's intentions. Like every other part of their reforms, it will be abused by mismanaging graspers.

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  • tinkerbell

    The only part i understood was the beginning and the end. I like the fact that it was sent from Russ Hope, as that is what we are all going to need in bucket loads HOPE.

    Don't think they will be investing in more staff the way they have cut back on frontline staff already. Why deny the obvious?

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