Privatisation doesn't mean better service
The public meeting combining the AGMs of our three primary care trusts with a health information exhibition proved to be very interesting.
With all the uncertainty resulting from the Government's reorganisation of our NHS, it was reassuring to hear no services will be axed now or when the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) take over from the PCTs in April next year.
At a time when services are being discontinued or rationed in other parts of the country it is good to hear a commitment to maintaining ours.
Unfortunately, the Government requires all CCGs to put the provision of at least three services out to what they call "any qualified provider". This means privatisation.
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In our area, these services will be adult incontinence, head and back physiotherapy and some diagnostics.
But is there any evidence these NHS services have been under-performing, or that handing them over to private companies run for profit will improve outcomes for patients?
As I see it, every pound taken out in profit is a pound less to be spent on healthcare.
Privatisation doesn't mean better. Arriva's performance with patient transport has not been good and it will need continuing support and monitoring to ensure it can get up to the standard we have been used to from our East Midlands Ambulance Service.
At least Arriva has been persuaded to ditch the expensive 0845 phone number which the Mercury has flagged up as causing a problem for many users. The sooner this goes the better. One might ask why they were ever allowed to introduce it in the first place.
The Government, which promised no major reorganisation of the NHS, obviously needs reminding the NHS was set up to provide treatment free at the point of need. It is paid for by all of us through our income tax and should not be seen as a source of profits for private companies.
Huge efficiency savings have been made in the last few years. There are three ways to squeeze a profit out of the Health Service – ration the treatment, make us pay for some of it and employ fewer, less well-trained staff.
I didn't vote for this. We will all need to be vigilant to make sure our services do not deteriorate.
Jill Friedmann, Leicester.