Privatisation and Private Consultancy Firms

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2007 Health Care Service Group Conference
18 April 2007
Carried as Amended

This Conference views with disgust how in the 10 years of a New Labour Government the large legal and accountancy firms have been able to increase their financial turnover and profits from the public pulse strings. The grand offices of these organizations such as Herbert Smith, Eversheds, Price Waterhouse Cooper and KPMG have been furnished to a significant extent from fees paid out of NHS Funds.

The majority of these firms’ recommendations have mirrored the desire of the Government to privatise/outsource NHS public services such as NHS Logistics with a 10 year contract to DHL/Novation covering the consumables part of the NHS Supply chain.

With the present DOH strategy for every NHS Trust to balance their financial books, these private consultancy firms are also being paid to advise Trusts on what to cut in their budgets. For example PWC receive a substantial monthly fee to advise Leeds NHS Trusts on how to cut another £85 million over three years.

At the same time private companies are targeting hospitals with financial deficits, promising cost savings if they outsource their medical typing to countries such as India, Pakistan South Africa. Consequently lives are being put at risk by hospitals who are trying to save money. Trusts are being drawn by companies offering free trials & pilots and financial savings if they allow medical typing to go abroad.

This Conference is also dismayed and disappointed with the constant rationale from the Department and Health, that many of these types of contract are classed ” Commercially in Confidence”.

Conference is disappointed that the Government are not willing to make details of these contracts accountable to the public and that normally Parliamentary accountability is very limited.

Conference therefore calls on the Health Care Service Group Executive:

1.To campaign with other Health Trade Unions in exposing the massive legal, consultative and accountancy fees paid to these private companies from NHS funding, and to maintain its high profile campaign of opposition to privatisation measures in the NHS.

2. To campaign for transparency in all contracts awarded by the DOH, Scottish Executive Health Department and all NHS employers to the private sector. This must include all performance and financial details of the contract.

3. To campaign against the Internal Market and put forward proposals which give stakeholders such as NHS workers, Trade Unions and NHS service users a real voice in the decisions on how the NHS is run and what its priorities are.

4.To campaign for the privatised/outsourced contracts such as NHS Supply Chain to revert back in to the NHS fold with any compensation to be paid on proven need;

5.To support any group of UNISON members fighting privatisation, or fighting a private contractor to defend their jobs and working conditions. This may include them in taking strike action;

6.To support and campaign for a national trade union-led demonstration in defence of the NHS, to be held as soon as possible in 2007. We cannot wait any longer and allow more parts of the health service to be signed over to big business.