The revelations over scandal-hit Greensill Capital and the role of David Cameron should set alarm bells ringing about the accelerating pace of NHS privatisation and sleaze, Unite warned today (Thursday 15 April).
Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, said that ‘a culture of Tory cronyism is rapidly enveloping the NHS’ and only maximum transparency and openness could start to reverse this trend.
Unite said that health secretary and social care secretary Matt Hancock meeting former premier David Cameron and financier Lex Greensill for a private drink in 2019 to discuss a new payment scheme for the NHS is the latest revelation which shows the NHS being lined up for further privatisation.
This follows on from the vast sums splashed out in controversial contracts for PPE to those with close links to the Tory establishment and the £37bn spent on the flawed private sector-led ‘test, track and trace’ programme that was heavily criticised by the cross-party Public Accounts Committee which said that the costs were ‘unimaginable’.
Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said, “The latest revelation regarding Greensill’s plans for the NHS and the roles played by Matt Hancock and David Cameron should set alarm bells ringing loudly about the direction of travel for the NHS.
“The Tories, since they came to power in 2010, have followed a consistent policy of privatising the NHS, starting off with then health secretary Andrew Lansley’s 2012 Health and Social Care Act which turned out to be an expensive administrative disaster for staff and patients.
“While NHS staff have worked themselves to the bone in caring for Covid-19 patients and then delivering the successful vaccination programme, Tory politicians have been collaborating in seeing that lucrative NHS contracts are delivered to their chums in the private sector.
“It appears that the government is more interested in boosting the bank balances of the few than the health and welfare of the many.
“A culture of Tory cronyism is rapidly enveloping the NHS and one of the ways this pernicious trend can be reversed is that the spotlight of transparency and ‘value for money’ is shone on the procurement contracts for NHS services.
“It is shameful that the government can ‘splash the cash’ when it comes to their ‘friends’ in the private sector, while NHS staff in England are offered a derogatory one per cent pay rise for this year by ministers.
“There has to be a moment of reckoning to see who does this government really seeks to serve – the public or its friends and chums in this clique?”
By Shaun Noble