Ten days to stop Jeremy Hunt: Day 7 – One way direction for privatisation

Jeremy Hunt:     “Well, I don’t support privatisation of the NHS.” Haslemere Hustings, 19th May 2017

Fact: The Department of Health’s own figures show that in just 2 years there has been a 33% increase in the amount it spends on private companies providing care to NHS patients.


The Conservatives are hell-bent on privatisation of the NHS. Spend on outsourced services increased from £6.6bn in 2013/4 to £8.7bn in 2015/6. It’s all going one way.

The companies involved might have nice names – like Virgin Care, Care UK, Circle Health, Spire Healthcare, The Practice PLC, United Health. But the truth about these companies is far less attractive.

Do you want to know one thing that they all have in common? They are all owned by holding companies or hedge funds based in tax havens. Yes, all of them.

Take Care UK. With over £½bn contracts in 2015, it paid precisely £0 in corporation tax. In fact, we cannot find any record of it ever paying corporation tax and yet Care UK directors and their families have made donations to the Conservative Party of over £300,000!

Take Virgin Care which runs 230 NHS and social care contracts. It is very difficult to unravel their accounts as they are split into 13 different holding companies (many based in the tax haven Virgin Islands). The respected Richard Murphy, a chartered accountant at Tax Research UK, has put it like this:.”The complex nature of the multinational group to which Virgin Care belongs means that it is not possible to draw any conclusions from the individual company’s accounts, including about how it is funded and its tax payments.Read more here.

Virgin Care has upset people here in South West Surrey. When it didn’t win a tender process, its immediate response was to sue. It’s trying to sue NHS England, Surrey County Council and Guildford and Waverly CCG. (FT article: Virgin Care sues NHS after losing Surrey child services deal.)

If they win, that’s tax that you and I have paid going into the pockets of a company whose tax records are obscure, to say the least . Are you happy about that?

I am also very concerned about The Naylor Review, which Theresa May says she backs. It requires the NHS to sell its assets as a condition of further funding. It’s privatisation by the backdoor.

My fight against privatisation isn’t an ideological one. It’s a practical one based on wanting what’s best for us, the public. I want an NHS that is:

  • Safe: A CHPI (Centre for Health and the Public Interest) report in August 2014 found that in the previous four years there had been 800 unexpected deaths in private hospitals and that in 2012-13 there had been 2,600 emergency admissions to the NHS from private hospitals
  • High quality: A BMA study found that the CCGs with highest use of private providers have the poorest ratings.
  • Efficient: Another CHPI report estimated the additional costs of running the groups set up to administer the outsourcing of services at £5bn per annum. CEO salaries of over £300,000 don’t help! That’s 13 nurses’ salaries!
  • Secure for the future: When Southern Cross care home provider went bust in 2013, it put the well-being of thousands of their care home residents in jeopardy. That doesn’t happen in the NHS.
  • Invested in: With increased investment to ensure that the NHS can meet patients’ needs..

Privatisation has hidden costs. It destabilises and sometimes destroys local NHS services by cherry-picking the easiest work that brings in the most money, depriving NHS services of vital income and staff. We must fight this relentless march towards the privatisation of the NHS. We must fight the Tories and restore the NHS as a fully public service.

I can beat Jeremy Hunt in South West Surrey. Vote for me, Dr Louise Irvine, National Health Action Party to keep your NHS safe and public.

I’m the candidate selected by Lib Dem, Labour and Green party members in South West Surrey to kick out Jeremy Hunt.

And if you want to help me protect your NHS from Jeremy Hunt, please contact us here. I’d be delighted to welcome you on board.

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