UNISON has condemned proposed legal action against the NHS by private sector company Circle Healthcare which has failed to win the contract to run Nottingham Treatment Centre, which it has operated for seven years.
The union is joining forces with Keep Our NHS Public to protest about the planned court bid by Circle with a rally outside the centre taking place today (Thursday 9 May).
UNISON fully supports the contract being brought ‘back home’ to Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust. It says Circle Healthcare, like many private providers, is simply putting profit over public need, with £25bn of NHS work awarded to the private sector since 2012, which is fundamentally damaging the health service.
UNISON says it would welcome the service’s return to public hands enabling it to return to a National Centre of Excellence once more – a status lost when dermatology services were contracted out to Circle in 2012. This was branded “an unmitigated disaster” in a subsequent independent review.
The union supports the Trust bidding for the contract and says this should be regarded as the preferred bid.
Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) UNISON branch secretary Martin Hallam-Benn said: “The Government must do everything within its power to protect the NHS from ‘corporate vampires’ who seek to turn a profit rather than serve the public interest. Our members work to support people at their most vulnerable. When you’re sick, you need a doctor, not an accountant.”
UNISON regional officer Dave Ratchford said: “This isn’t rocket science. Circle and all of the other would-be private providers are out to make a profit – that is their incentive as a private business.
“But public services that are provided on an ongoing basis can’t be provided more effectively by a private operator. It is far more effective to run them in-house allowing proper planning and investment on a long-term basis. Then any surplus that a public service makes should get ploughed back into the public purse, not into the pockets of shareholders.”
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