The government is on the brink of privatising NHS Professionals. We can’t let this happen. Here’s what you need to know about the sell off.
What is NHS Professionals?
NHS Professionals provides 88,000 staff to 60 out of 250 NHS Trusts. It allows Trusts to cheaply recruit healthcare workers, avoiding expensive private recruitment companies which charge a commission on top of wages. And it’s a huge success, saving the NHS £70 million per year. Currently, NHS Professionals is owned entirely by the Department of Health, and run for people, not profit.
The government has put up 74.9% of NHS Professionals for sale. Whoever wins the bid will control the organisation. That’s bad news for the cost and quality of NHS care. A privately run NHS Professionals would put its shareholders’ profits before the people our NHS is meant to serve. To make those profits it could end up charging NHS Trusts more for recruitment, and making cuts.
The government has been paying consultancy giant Deloitte to arrange the sell off, so it's already costing us money.
The key players in the government are Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, Philip Dunne, Minister of State for Health, and Ben Masterson, Head of Companies Management at the Department of Health.
And there are at least two potential buyers: Staffline, headed by Andrew Hogarth and John Crabtree, and - we believe, though this is unconfirmed - Aurelius Equity Opportunities, led by Dirk Markus and Tristan Nagler.
The bosses of NHS Professionals are also letting this happen: Nick Kirkbride, Colin McCready, and Robin Williams.
What can I do?
The privatisation of NHS Professionals is due to take place within weeks, and the government are hoping it will go through without a fuss. But they have no mandate. 84% of us want a publicly owned NHS. If we make enough noise we can stop this sell off.