NHS in England on fast track to privatisation, Labour warns

Labour has warned that the NHS is on a fast-track to privatisation and fragmentation because of reforms it claims have so far cost £3.45bn with a third of laid off managers being re-employed in the new structure.

Mr Burnham: ''Thousands of managers have received six-figure pay-offs.'
Mr Burnham: ''Thousands of managers have received six-figure pay-offs.'

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham reiterated the party’s pledge to repeal the Health and Social Care Act which came into force in England on 1 April, but again promised to keep CCGs.

The former health secretary warned that the reforms could result in commissioners putting all contracts out to tender and hospitals earning up to 49% of income from treating private patients.

Labour’s health check report, published on 31 March claims that £3.45bn has been spent so far on the re-organisation, with over £1bn of this going on redundancy payments. The report said that a third of laid-off managers – 2,200 of the 6,000 made redundant – have now been employed again by the NHS elsewhere.

The report claimed that by April 2012, the NHS footed the bill for 1,300 redundancy pay-offs for more than £100,000 and 173 for over £200,000.

Mr Burnham said: ‘David Cameron has placed the NHS on a fast-track to fragmentation and privatisation.

‘He has siphoned over £3bn out of the front-line and blown it on a back-office re-organisation that no-one wanted and for which nobody voted. The British public have never given him permission to put the NHS up for sale.

‘Thousands of managers have received six-figure pay-offs while thousands of nurses have been given their P45s. Nothing more clearly illustrates a government with its priorities wrong.

‘Far from letting 'doctors decide', ministers are forcing the medical profession to open up all NHS services to the market. Hundreds of new private companies now risk fragmenting patient care when more integration is needed.

‘David Cameron has put profits before patients in the NHS. Doctors will not be in control, but required to offer up the NHS to the lowest bidder. That’s why Labour will repeal the government’s free market and put the right values back at the heart of the NHS.’

A DH spokesman was unavailable to comment.

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