Opinion Former Article

Unite: 'Trojan horse' privatisation could severely damage NHS

Government-supported privatisation initiatives are the 'Trojan Horse' that could severely undermine the NHS, Unite, the largest union in the country, has said.

Unite was backing motions at the Trade Unions Congress - debated today (Monday, 14 September) - calling for an end to the privatisation of the NHS and ensuring that services remain within the NHS and delivered by NHS staff.

Unite Assistant General Secretary for the Public Sector, Gail Cartmail said that the trade union movement needs to send out the 'strongest possible message' that privatisation of the NHS is completely unacceptable.

Ms Cartmail said: "It is clear that the not-so-subtle encouragement given by the government for the various privatisation initiatives, such as the Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs) and the misguided experiment with social enterprises, are the Trojan Horse that could lead to the fragmentation of the NHS.

"Conservatives, such as MEP Daniel Hannan; right-wing media pundits; and Barak Obama-baiting American healthcare insurance companies all view the current creeping privatisation of the NHS as a golden opportunity to maximise profits for shareholders.

"To create these so-called market mechanisms - that the British people have repeatedly said in opinion polls they don't want - will cost an estimated £20 billion. This is money better spent on frontline services - more health visitors, more hip replacement operations, and more day surgery.

"As Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown did a wonderful thing when he put 1p on National Insurance to pay for investment in the people's NHS. Now as Prime Minister he can build on this by calling 'time' on the healthcare companies that seek to make a handsome profit from the sick, the elderly, and the vulnerable."

Last month, Unite presented a letter signed by 3,000 NHS members calling on Health Secretary, Andy Burnham to halt the privatisation of the health service.


For further information, please ring Gail Cartmail on 07768 931 305, David Fleming, National Officer, Health on 07798 531013, Karen Reay, National Officer, Health on 07798 531 004 or Shaun Noble, Communications Officer (Health Sector) on 020 7420 8951 or 07768 693 940.

More Articles by Unite - the union (T&G section) ...

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