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Labour to urge heath secretary to stop further privatisation

LABOUR will call on Health Secretary Matt Hancock today to block private companies from securing 26 NHS contracts worth over £128 million.

The 2012 Health and Social Care Act requires NHS clinical commissioning groups in England to tender out any contract worth over £615,278.

This has led to an increase in the number of NHS contracts awarded to profit-driven firms such as Virgin Care.  

Labour is demanding that ministers step in to block the competitive tendering which “undermines true integration of services in public hands.”

Last year, £8.8 billion of the health service budget went to independent sector providers — more than doubling  since 2009-10, according to government reports.

Mr Hancock promised last month that there would be “no privatisation of the NHS on my watch” despite endorsing Access MyDentist, a private firm profiting from patients who cannot access an NHS dentist due to cuts.

Shadow health and social care secretary Jonathan Ashworth will tell the Commons: “This Health Secretary’s privatisation credentials become clearer by the day — whether it’s promoting GP at Hand to endorsing private dentistry to now allowing millions of pounds worth of health services contracts to be privatised.”

Mr Ashworth will also say that if Mr Hancock does not block the tenders, his promises to the health select committee will be “exposed as entirely hollow” and it “will be clear the Tory NHS privatisation agenda continues to run rampant.”

Labour has pledged to reverse privatisation of the NHS and return the health service into expert public control.

It has also vowed to repeal the Health and Social Care Act, which puts profits before patients.

GMB national officer Rachel Harrison said that the Tories are 100 per cent committed to ending any further outsourcing and privatisation in our NHS, which the union “firmly believes” is no way to raise standards of care.

“Privatisation is already rampant in our NHS; 42 wholly owned subsidiary companies have been ‘spun off’ by trusts in recent years,” she said.

“That means our members are already experiencing a two-tier workforce, with private companies employing staff on worse terms, undermining the agenda for change and with no access to the NHS pension scheme.”

Ms Harrison added that GMB “wholeheartedly” supported Labour’s demand and would continue the fight to restore the NHS “as the best provider for health services.”

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