UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Monday, 23 November 2009

NHS competition – the public services industrial complex launches a fight back‏

It was only a matter of time. The announcement last September by health secretary Andy Burnham that the NHS staff would be the ‘preferred provider’ of health services was warmly welcomed by UNISON and other health unions.

The Blairite think tank Progress, which is linked to private companies, consulting firms and their academic mouthpieces in the so called public services industry, has launched a counter attack. They are calling on Burnham to press on with competition in the NHS.

No doubt encouraged by Labour’s U-turn on agency workers rights following similar lobbying by vested interests, the Guardian reports that Progress has organised a letter to Burnham, fronted by the so called ‘charity’ healthcare providers but quite openly drafted by former Blair advisers Professors Julian le Grand and Paul Corrigan - who were prime movers in the disastrous NHS reforms promoted by previous health secretaries Alan Milburn and Patricia Hewitt.

The letter states: "The presumption that the private and voluntary sectors should be considered on equal terms with state provided services has increased the capacity of the NHS to provide high-quality services. We would like to ask you to rethink your approach to the NHS as the preferred provider of services as we build up to the next election. Now is not the time to alienate important sectors that hold much goodwill and are potentially the key to the citizen-centred, high-quality health services of the future."

So there you have it.

Everyone knows that private companies lobbying for increased NHS competition would go down like a lead balloon. Step forward the 3rd sector patsies as the advance guard of the UK’s public services industrial complex.