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

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Circle vultures ready to swoop on NHS hospitals - time to raise the alarm

The Sunday Telegraph reports that private health company Circle Holdings is looking to extend into the NHS well beyond its small bridgehead at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire. "On a 10 to 20-year view, I think the scale of private companies running NHS health care in Britain could be huge" said Chief Executive Ali Parsa, in self-fulfilling prophecy mode: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/pharmaceuticalsandchemicals/9450088/Ali-Parsa-Government-should-not-be-running-hospitals.html

This follows an orchestrated and uncontested propaganda campaign over the past week to mark the 6 month (!) anniversary of Circle's entry into NHS hospital management. With almost 3 years to the next General Election, it's vitally important that NHS trade unions including UNISON face up to and expose the implications of the Circle business plan as well as step up the campaign against further private sector encroachment into the NHS.

The unscrupulous lobbying methods of Circle bear all the hallmarks of the public services industrial complex. Its highly effective media operation is buttressed by paid advocates in Parliament. The NHS Vault blog exposes the activities on the company's behalf of Mark Simmonds Tory MP for Boston and Skegness - providing public endorsement of Circle's work at Hinchingbrooke "In this hospital you can change the way the NHS works, in my view for the better, you are at the frontier of the way healthcare is going to be provided in the future". Yet Simmonds is not a local MP and receives substantial payment from Circle as a 'strategic adviser' - at £12,500 per quarter for 10 hours 'work' per month: