Unite campaigns against community service reforms

Posted on June 2, 2009. Filed under: Journals | Tags: , , |

Health Service Journal | Helen Crump | 2 June 2009

Trade union Unite has launched a campaign against Department of Health plans to separate primary care trust provider arms from commissioning PCTs.

Unite said the transforming community services programme amounted to “the latest patchwork privatisation of the NHS” and “promotes the myth that any provider will be better than a PCT provider”.

PCT provider arms will be able to turn themselves into social enterprises or community foundation trusts under the scheme, which is likely to result in increased competition in the community services sector.

Unite lead officer for nursing Barrie Brown warned against having “a plethora of different primary care provider organisations”.

“Why should PCTs in England look outside the NHS to provide services that are delivered so effectively by themselves and their staff?” he asked.

But the DH rebutted the claims. A spokesman said guidance on reforming community services issued in March had “stated clearly there was no prescribed national blueprint” for the changes.

He said: “The options are for local decision involving staff. To claim this is wide scale privatisation of the NHS is wrong and misleading.”

The news came as the British Medical Association stepped up activity to publicise its concerns about the creation of a market in healthcare with its own new campaign, Look after our NHS.

It is looking for examples of where public money has been “wasted” as a result of market-driven reforms, as well as “the adverse effects this has had on patient care and doctors’ working lives”.

BMA chairman Hamish Meldrum said: “A market economy is based on winners and losers. We’re not prepared to allow parts of the NHS to fail.”


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