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CAMPAIGNING doctors have launched a first-of-its-kind interactive digital map to highlight the extent of privatisation within the NHS.
The map by EveryDoctor shows the private companies, charities and social enterprises running NHS services across England, and aims to raise public awareness of the extent of non-NHS providers in the health service.
On its launch on Tuesday, 2,234 services were recorded, and the group is hoping to build the map further.
It comes as part of a wider campaign against NHS privatisation, which has been linked with negative impacts for both patients and staff, ahead of the Health and Care Bill.
Campaigners have raised serious concerns about the Bill accelerating NHS privatisation.
NHS consultant anaesthetist Dr Megan Smith said that politicians “don’t reveal the whole story,” with privatisation “a vote loser.”
“With this interactive map, EveryDoctor is revealing the story they don’t want you to know,” she said.
“We must push back. We must halt and reverse NHS privatisation. If we don’t, they won’t stop.”
EveryDoctor chief executive Dr Julia Patterson said: “There is poor public awareness about the extent of current NHS privatisation.
“The politicians need to come clean about the increasing involvement of private providers, and allow the public to have an open, honest conversation about the future of the NHS as a national public health service.”
Other anti-privatisation groups have welcomed the “incredible and useful” map.
Keep Our NHS Public co-chairman Dr Tony O’Sullivan said: “Private interests are a parasite in the NHS, spreading into every crevice, encircling it, living off its life energy, weakening it and growing fast.
“Government has abandoned denial of privatisation and now confidently asserts that the NHS needs private hospitals. But it is an abusive relationship.
“We have to call it out, stop it and demand the rebuilding of the public service NHS.”
We Own It lead campaigner Johnbosco Nwogbo said: “Many MPs and pundits claim that this privatisation isn’t happening, but it is very clear that they are lying.
“We need to put an end to this creeping privatisation and reinstate the NHS as a fully public service.”
He added: “Across the world’s richest 15 countries, wherever privatisation is introduced, research shows that healthcare gets less equal and suggests more people end up in hospital or dead.
“We can't let that happen to our NHS just so that private companies can line their pockets.
“The people who created the NHS had a vision for our country that was about more than profits going to their mates in Virgin Care — we need to return to that.”
The map, which also allows people to see how their MP has voted on the Bill, can be viewed on the EveryDoctor website.
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