Socialist Worker

Privatisation puts patients' lives at risk

Issue No. 2350

NHS bosses have spent millions of pounds hiring ambulances from private companies as NHS ambulance jobs are slashed. 

The shift to using private firms is putting patients at risk.

One elderly man waited three hours for an ambulance after a fall in Swansea last week. 

A woman waited in agony for over three hours for a paramedic to arrive by car—and then over an hour and a half longer for an ambulance in Southend, Essex.

South East Coast Ambulance Service bosses have spent £9.2 million on private contractors since 2010. 

In London private ambulances cost over £4.5 million. 

Bosses at Yorkshire Ambulance Service spent £1.8 million on ambulances run for profit last year alone. 

Yorkshire ambulance workers in the Unite union struck on 2 April against cuts to the service. They are still refusing to work overtime. 

Management want to replace paramedics with staff who have only three weeks of blue-light driver training and three weeks of basic first aid. 

They have also derecognised the Unite union. 

The union says workers will strike again if bosses continue to refuse to meet with them. 

New Labour brought in the use of private ambulances in the NHS.

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