NHS managers in Cornwall have agreed in principle to the creation of a private company that would see primary care trust (PCT) commissioners spun out of the health service. Senior staff at the PCT will now proceed with establishing the community interest company, which would manage 2,400 workers, as the NHS starts to implement Andrew Lansley’s white paper reforms.So does this matter? Well if you are a patient in Cornwall, ye it does because in the future rather than being treated by NHS district nurses, or having care in an NHS community hospital, you will have care provided by a private company instead.
The new venture will control an annual budget of £75 million and will manage 14 cottage hospitals, and a number of community services, such as district nursing.This means that the hospitals will have been taken out of the NHS and the result of this will be that there will be no guarantee that they will survive. The private sector are licking their lips in anticipation of the rich pickings they can get. If the new "community interest company" goes into deficit, they will not be helped by the government. Instead they will do what any company in debt will do, and realise their assets. That means selling off hospitals. If a community hospital is sold off it will mean that NHS care will not be available in that area and hence the market for private care will be created.
UNISON and Unite are fighting the attempts to change NHS trusts (community services, PCTs or hospitals) into such social enterprises. It is quite amazing that at the moment only the Trades Union movement is willing to protect the NHS at the moment.