Tony Blair wants 40 percent of acute operations performed by private companies to be paid for by the NHS by 2008.
Eleven private healthcare providers have joined the NHS Partners’ Network, dubbed “the NHS family” by Blair.
The network’s spokesperson, Mark Smith, admitted that some private healthcare providers had “specific targets for a large number of patients to be NHS patients in the future”.
The latest privatisation scheme for the NHS comes from Labour’s communities minister David Miliband. He wants members of the public to be allowed to demand that their local services are privatised.
Blair and health secretary Patricia Hewitt talk about expanding “patient choice”. They are insisting that health providers offer a range of options to patients, including at least one private provider.
But even surveys conducted by the government show that patients want well-funded, local NHS services, rather than a choice of providers.
The drive for more choice is in fact a drive to open more areas of the NHS to the private sector, allowing them to cherry pick the most lucrative areas.
For more on the campaign to stop privatisation of the NHS, go to www.keepourNHSpublic.com