Health Today, Gone Tomorrow: How the NHS is slowly being outsourced to private healthcare providers.


Did you know the NHS has been privatised?

Probably not, because it still says NHS on the billboard outside your local hospital. That’s because the services we students, and most of the general public require, A&E for stomach pump procedures, broken bones, and general check-ups, weren’t part of the package sold off to private healthcare providers such as Virgin Care, Circle and Serco. However if you do need to use GUM Clinics, private healthcare providers will often be the ones operating these services. The services that were outsourced, for instance, in Surrey, were Community Health Care.

But the larger repercussions of this will not be felt for a while, not until private healthcare providers start to make money. For obvious reasons, the NHS is not-for-profit because it is taxpayer funded and free at the point of use, but privatisation means that people may have to start paying into health insurance policies in the future like those in the United States.

To explain further, we hope that our government is selling off key NHS services because they want to make the NHS more efficient by outsourcing services that are not ‘point of use’; so yes, students, our A&E is still safe, for now.

However, this sell off can come with corners being cut to save costs, a reduction in nursing staff, money saved on non-essential training, scrimping on the ‘bed side manner courses’, and inevitably leading to an inadequate service. Most problematically is that if this were to happen British taxpayers have little power to stop it because, after all, it’s a private enterprise that runs these services, and possession is nine-tenths of the law. One hope is that the salary incentives of high up administrators will moralise private enterprises enough to focus on the service rather than the share price (and the dividends), and also that currently every five years these deals must be renegotiated to assess whether these private healthcare providers are in fact saving the government money.

The British taxpayer knows very little about these NHS sell-offs because it’s better that way, sweep it under the rug till you notice your coffee table isn’t level, because by the time we all realise we no longer have a public, free at the point of use National Health Service will be exactly the time we have to start paying for it.

The only way we over-18s found out that prescriptions weren’t free was when it cost us £7.95 for Penicillin.

University College Hospital's new building. Photo@: WikiCommons

University College Hospital’s new building. Photo@: WikiCommons


One Response to “Health Today, Gone Tomorrow: How the NHS is slowly being outsourced to private healthcare providers.”

  1. Guy Clapperton

    Oct 21. 2014

    But your local general practitioner – your family doctor – is a private business contracted by the NHS, and always has been. And the NHS has been paid for by National Insurance and income tax since it started. It’s never been either free nor without private elements.

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