Surge in privatisation threatening free NHS treatment, unions say

With contracts worth £5.5bn going to private firms, health sector unions warn of slide to US-style system in which level of care depends on ability to pay.

Trade unions representing half a million NHS workers have warned that a “surge in privatisation” of the health service risks creating a system based on ability to pay, rather than need.

In a strongly worded statement, leaders of the major health unions representing staff across the NHS said the growing involvement of private companies threatened one of its core functions: the provision of free treatment based on need.

“There is a real danger that if we continue down this road we could end up with a repeat of the American experience where income, rather than need, dictates the level of care a patient can expect,” said the nine leaders of NHS staff, including midwives, nurses and radiographers.

Full story in The Guardian 8 February 2016