Pressure from lobby groups – including UNISON West Sussex and UNISON Health branches – has claimed a major victory in the campaign to prevent NHS musculoskeletal (MSK) services being privatised to Bupa/CSH (Central Surrey Healthcare).
Bupa’s decision to withdraw their bid follows an independent impact assessment which highlighted a number of concerns. It found that the financial position of the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (that runs both Worthing General and Chichester St Richard’s hospitals) would be worsened if Bupa provided the service.
The sustained campaign against the proposed privatisation has included protests at key meetings, lobbying key players in the decision-making process and gathering signatures for petitions.
It begs the question: ‘Why did the CCG waste so much time and resources when potential problems were highlighted at a very early stage?’
It shows that people including union members – when coordinated and organised – can make a profound difference to the provision of public services.
UNISON Branch Secretary Dan Sartin said:
“This is fantastic news, but shows just how dangerous and misguided privatisation plans are. It was only in July 2013 that Bupa scuttled out of West Sussex when they were proven unfit to run a West Sussex care home, where elderly residents were found neglected and uncared for, lying in their own excrement. Why would we trust these companies to run our NHS?
“Only this month [January 2015] private company Circle pulled out of the Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire when they felt they could no longer make a profit. Public service workers must join forces with community campaigners to protect all that we hold dear about services run for the public good and which are accountable to us. We did that, and this great victory shows we can win when we do.”