It is death by a thousand cuts. First the CCG attempts to outsource MSK services to a private-led BUPA consortium, then there has been the fight to keep our local A&E services intact should the worst happen, and now we learn of the fate of yet another service.
Elderly patients with wet age-related macular degeneration have become the latest casualties in the rush by our CCG to privatise our NHS. In a report in the Worthing Herald of January 15, readers learnt to their regret that their service is to be outsourced to BMI Goring Hall Hospital. I checked on the hospital website and discovered that Goring Hall is indeed a private hospital.
On the letters page of the same issue, Dr Carl Walker warned what can happen when CCGs rush headlong down the privatisation route. Patients at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridge have been left high and dry when private company Circle pulled out of their contract. They left the hospital is tatters, no doubt expecting the NHS to pick up the pieces, as it always does for the private sector when the going gets tough.
So why use private services in the first place? Clearly their priority is to generate a profit for their shareholders, rather than to show the 24-hour commitment to treat patients that we expect from the NHS.
Eternal vigilance is needed to save the NHS from that death by a thousand cuts. I would urge all readers to get campaigning to save our NHS, the jewel in the crown of our welfare state, before it is too late.
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