Quick and easy profits

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ONE of the coalition’s cruellest falsehoods is the claim that the NHS is safe in their hands.

First, we had the botched backdoor privatisation with the injection market forces into both hospital and GP services. Then the growing north-south divide in cancer, heart, and cataract treatments.

And now we have evidence that it is the private sector who are making the biggest killings out of the mayhem.

I have endorsed a Commons motion tabled by Grahame Morris pointing out that the most significant development that has followed from the government’s bogus healthcare reforms has been the £7bn worth of new contracts made available to private companies – www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/917

Under the ‘revolving door’ practice, at least five former advisers to David Cameron and George Osborne are now working for lobbying firms with private healthcare clients.

Boardrooms expect a return for their money so they must assume that such new recruits continue to have access to the top levels of power. Before the election, Cameron described lobbying as a scandal. What changed his mind?

The reality is that private firms bidding for healthcare contracts are given priority over the NHS by allowing them to hide behind confidentiality.

In recent weeks, controversy has focused on Richard Branson’s Virgin Care, which for over two years supplied podiatry and dermatology services, but which has branched out into running non-acute hospitals.

Even more worrying is the number of foreign-based firms trying to muscle in. At the very least, ministers must ensure that private firms bidding for contracts are based in the UK.

We cannot continue to allow overseas contractors to exploit our cash-strapped service for quick and easy profits.