‘Provider Collaboratives’ – Beware The New Private Back Door

The NHS Care Bill as currently proposed has not so much a loophole in it to allow private providers to slice off the bits of the NHS they want to profit from as a gaping back door, an open funnel through which to cajole, influence and drain public cash into private provider hands – with little to no transparency, accountability or advance warning. Despite assurances that it won’t happen. 

The name of the hidden back door? Provider Collaboratives. Doctors for the NHS raised our concern that Clause 12 of the Health and Care Bill would make it possible for Integrated Care Boards to delegate their powers to Provider Collaboratives.
These are arrangements where a number of providers of health care, potentially including NHS Trusts, Foundation Trusts, GP Alliances, voluntary sector organisations and private companies, join together to arrange the provision of health and care services. This risks putting private companies at the very heart of decisions on what healthcare is provided, where and by whom. It risks profit-driven private companies being able to design and award long-term contracts, worth many millions of pounds, in ways that best suit their preferred business model, rather than the health needs of the public.

Dr Colin Hutchinson, Chair of DFNHS, said:
“We all want to see an end to the gaps and barriers to the care that people receive, caused by the fragmentation of the NHS into a patchwork of financially autonomous organisations, held together only by commercial contracts. This has been going on for more than 30 years – far too long. But iintegration must not be at the cost of an NHS driven by private profit, rather than public need. We welcome the increase in spending on the NHS announced in the Budget, but it must not be siphoned off into company profits before it can reach the frontline.”
This loophole needs to be closed by a simple amendment to Clause 12. Parliament needs to ensure this amendment is carried.
You can download the proposed Amendment here.
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