'Hinchingbrooke Hospital news shows dangers of private health care'

23 January 2015

THE announcement last week by Circle of their withdrawal from operating Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon might seem distant from us here.

But it is especially significant given the proposal to offer a £1 billion contract to private companies to deliver cancer care and end of life care services, for the next ten years, across North Staffordshire.

Dr John Lister warned us of the danger of private companies pulling out of these contracts if they cannot make sufficient profit.

The developments at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, similar to that which happened with Southern Cross care homes, illustrate not only the huge risk being taken with these privatisation proposals, but also the primary purpose of those enterprises providing such services.

It is absolutely clear that to succeed these companies have to make substantial profit out of public services.

This pre-eminent need to suck out investment to fund profits for wealthy shareholders, whilst simultaneously driving down costs through much less favourable terms and conditions of employment for staff, clearly demonstrate the divisive nature of privatising public services.

These are two seismic forces that serve to drive further the division between the rich and poor which so taint our contemporary society.

The fact that all three main political parties support these policies is a beacon that flashes as brightly as any lighthouse, illuminating how they are failing us.

JAN ZABLOCKI

The Sentinel, 20/1/15