As one part of NHS privatisation hits the rocks, the government is ploughing ahead with others.
The department of health has ordered that Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) – which organise basic services, such as local doctors – be split into two parts of commissioning healthcare and providing healthcare.
While the commissioning arm is expected to remain largely within the NHS, the job of providing care is to be opened up to the private sector.
The government says that the provider arm of the PCT must be operating as though it were a private company by April. It wants private and voluntary sector firms incorporated into the system by next year.
Meanwhile, the pace of privatisation is also increasing in local communities, with the contracts for the running of one in four of the new wave of polyclinics being won by private sector companies.
These vultures have snatched 14 out of 54 of the new GP-led health centres announced so far.
The economic downturn is lowering the number of people who can afford private medical care, so many firms are looking towards the NHS to help boost their profits.
The feeling of revulsion at the prospect of even more NHS privatisation is widespread among health workers and patients.
This weekend will see protests by supporters of the Keep Our NHS Public campaign in many parts of the country.
It is time that the health trade unions gave this kind of campaign the backing that could help drive the profiteers out of the NHS.
For more information go to » www.keepournhspublic.com