‘The suing of the NHS by Richard Branson’s Virgin Care company for £2m of public money is the consequence of the Tory government’s “consolidation of privatization” in the UK’s healthcare system, a prominent GP and author told RT.
Dr. Youssef El-Gingihy, a GP in Tower Hamlets, London and author of ‘How to dismantle the NHS in 10 easy steps’ told RT that the current NHS system, overseen by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, is being sold as “integration of care,” but is essentially part of a transition to a “US style healthcare model” with “consolidation of privatization.”
In the shift towards the government’s preferred models of Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) – in which the integration of a myriad of health and social care services is the key objective – private companies such as Virgin Care are able to outbid in-house NHS providers for long multi-billion pound contracts, to take more and more of the NHS pie.
“ACOs/ICOs [Integrated Care Organization] are being sold as integration of care, but in reality they indicate a shift towards US style healthcare models with consolidation of privatization.
“They would enable 10-15 year multi-billion-pound contracts for health and social care for whole regions to be handed over to non-NHS, non-statutory bodies such as private healthcare and insurance companies.”
El-Gingihy claims that large private companies with AQP status (Any Qualified Provider) such as Capita, Interserve, and Virgin Care, who take part in blind bids for tender of healthcare services, will take a “strategy of a ‘loss leader’ to kill the competition.”
In the unlikely event that they lose out to the in-house provider, the private company is able to sue the NHS if they are of the opinion that the tender process was not conducted in a fair and proper manner – money that the NHS can ill afford to lose.
Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Care group successfully sued the NHS, after losing out on an £82 million (US$108.8 million) contract to provide children’s healthcare services in Surrey – pocketing £2 million of public money in the process.
Newly-released accounts show that NHS England and six CCGs paid Virgin Care £1.565 million. Surrey County Council handed Branson’s group £440,000 and at least £243,000 more was diverted from frontline NHS services to pay for legal fees.’