How Come We Didn’t Know? Privatisation: the corporate takeover of our NHS

How Come We Didn’t Know? This is an exhibition by photographer Marion Macalpine that aims to spread awareness of the privatisation of the NHS as widely as possible. The exhibition was launched in Stoke Newington in early May at a NHS hustings organised by Hackney KONP (Keep Our NHS Public) for the local elections.
The exhibition features around 20 photographs of private health company buildings, each with an information panel highlighting the relevant corporation’s involvement in the privatisation of our NHS. Through her exhibition Marion Macalpine explores the many facets of NHS privatisation, such as PFI (private finance initiative), private companies masquerading as NHS under the NHS logo; the cherry-picking of ‘low risk’, profitable patients which, in turn increases costs to whatever may be left of the publicly-run NHS; fraud or tax avoidance; and, private corporations behind-the-scenes involvement in trade treaties such as TTIP, the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

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An East London story: Harmoni – out of hours GP service
Not a happy tale. Eventually an enterprise led by local GPs took on responsibility for running the OOH service after Harmoni’s failures. The social enterprise had previously tried several times to win the contract. Unfortunately, some GP practices in Hackney are now under threat themselves due to changes, i.e. cuts, to GP funding. Some of the GPs who stepped into the breach left in Harmoni’s wake are now at risk of losing their day jobs.

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Keeping close to issues having a direct impact on East London…
The Private Finance Initiative (PFI): The Royal London, Whitechapel; Barts Health Trust. The £1.1billion PFI used to build the Royal London is costing East London taxpayers £115million per year and will eventually cost us over £7billion. That’s an amazingly good return on investment for the private partner! It also creates issues at our local East London hospitals with staff retention, keeping wards open and patient care.

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Corporates masquerading as NHS: Virgin Care
Why does it matter that Virgin uses the NHS logo rather than its own corporate signage at the Jarvis Screening Centre? To answer a question with questions: do you like being misled? Why would they choose not to use their own logo which they seek to promote so energetically elsewhere?

As NHA Party Co-Leader Dr Clive Peedell explains: “These firms are funded by the NHS so they are allowed to use the NHS logo. You can even go to the NHS branding website and see where it tells private companies how to use it as it has a 95 per cent satisfaction and approval rating. The public are duped into believing they are getting NHS care while these companies are siphoning off profits.”

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Corporates can maximise profits by accepting only routine cases: Care UK; BMI Health Care

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“Hospitals are paid a standard rate for specific treatments, regardless of any complications. But private hospitals can cherry-pick their patients and refer those with more complex needs back to the NHS for treatment and still get paid for authorising their referrals.

This privately-run centre has these criteria for accepting NHS patients:
The patient
– does not require complex surgery or prolonged inpatient rehabilitation
– does not have a chronic disease that would require intermediate post-operative care
– has a Body Mass Index of 40 or less
– does not have sickle cell anaemia, complex clotting disorders or significant renal failure”
In other words if you’re obese or really ill they can’t turn a profit and don’t want you. This approach sucks funding away from publicly-operated NHS services. Anyone with complex needs will be left to the publicly-operated NHS yet the hospitals receive the same tariff irrespective of care requirements.

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Corporates can hide profits in tax havens: Spire

Spire seem quite delighted by the opportunity the UK private health market offers to them. Money from the public purse when siphoned through Luxembourg can be used to annul their UK tax bill.

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Corporates can dump unprofitable contracts: Ramsay Health (and Serco)

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Dumping contracts can not only poison the finances of the health trust concerned but can have a knock-on effect that threatens neighbouring health trusts.

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Having also dumped several contracts, Serco (accused of corruption, see below) recently announced its plans to withdraw from the UK clinical health services market due to lack of profitability.

Some corporates deliver dangerous care: BMI Health Care

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Some corporates accused of corruption: Serco

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US health giant, The Hospital Corporation of America was forced to pay over $1.7billion in settlements after US allegations of fraud. HCA is reportedly planning to expand into the NHS.
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UPDATE 27th August 2014: : Serco is embroiled in a fresh misuse of public funds scandal after a company it set up overcharged NHS hospitals millions of pounds.

All in it together – how politicians, lobbyists and global corporations cooperate and how this may lead to the permanent loss of our publicly-funded, publicly-operated NHS…

Big Pharma lobby group – links with the NHS: Specialist Healthcare Alliance and JMC Partners. Public money paid to Big Pharma to consult on how to spend public money!

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The Voluntary Sector used as a Trojan horse: ACEVO

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Global consultancies and the NHS: KPMG, public money funding privatisation of the NHS

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NHS opened up to EU competition law: Department of Business and Innovation

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International trade agreements cement permanent NHS privatisation: TTIP, J.P. Morgan and the City of London Corporation

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What can YOU do about this?


You can join local people in your area campaigning against the TTIP on Saturday 30th August. Details here.

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To discuss using the exhibition for your NHS campaign please leave a message for us pass on to Marion Macalpine, or contact konph@hackneykeepournhspublic.org

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