National Audit Office: please investigate the sale of NHS Professionals

21 August 2017

We've just sent this letter from health professionals and NHS campaigners to the National Audit Office. Please share! If you are a health professional and want to add your name, or if you want to add the name of an NHS campaign group, please email
Dear Sir Amyas Morse, KCB, Comptroller and Auditor General at the National Audit Office, 
cc Adrian Jenner, Director of Parliamentary Relations, Jenny George, Value for Money Director, Department of Health,
We are writing to ask you to investigate the government's proposed sale of NHS Professionals.
As you will be aware, shadow health minister Justin Madders MP has already written to the National Audit Office calling for an investigation. We write to add our voices - the voices of health professionals and public NHS campaigners - to that call.
NHS Professionals is a valuable, publicly owned service which provides temporary, short-term and flexible staff to NHS Trusts. The NHS spends around £3 billion a year on hiring temporary staff, of which up to 20% goes directly to private agencies as profit. NHS Professionals was set up to help the NHS reduce its reliance on these exploitative private staffing agencies.
NHS Professionals saves the NHS £70 million every year because it doesn’t charge expensive commission fees, unlike private agencies. Our understanding is that selling off a 75% stake would raise less than one year's savings, while introducing a profit motive and margin into the organisation itself. We believe this is illogical and misguided.
We would be very grateful if the National Audit Office could investigate this matter.
Thank you for your time.
Yours sincerely,
Cat Hobbs, Director, We Own It
Dr Tony O’Sullivan, Chair, Keep Our NHS Public
Dr Kailash Chand OBE, Ex Deputy Chair, British Medical Association council
Dr Jacqueline Davis, Member of Council, British Medical Association
Mike Forster, Chair, Health Campaigns Together
Sir Richard Thompson, Ex-President, Royal College of Physicians
Dr Louise Irvine GP, Secretary for Doctors in Unite, Member of Council, British Medical Association
Caroline Molloy, Editor, OurNHS, OpenDemocracy
Dr David Wrigley GP, Chair, Doctors in Unite
Dr Kevin O’Kane, Member of Council, British Medical Association
Sara Gorton, Head of Health, UNISON
Jan Shortt, General Secretary, National Pensioners Convention
Sarah Carpenter, National Officer for Health, Unite the Union
Keith Venables, National Secretary, Health Campaigns Together
Bill MacKeith, Secretary, Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public
Dr Louise Irvine GP, Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign 
Norma Dudley, co chair, Waltham Forest Save Our NHS and health visitor
Merril Hammer, Chair, Save Our Hospitals: Hammersmith and Charing Cross
Larry Sanders, Health and Social Care spokesperson, Green Party of England and Wales
Save Southend Hospital Campaign
Hands Off Huddersfield Royal Infirmary Campaign
North East London Save Our NHS (NELSON)
Dr Lola Aderogba Douthwaite MBChB MRCPsych, Consultant Psychiatrist                      
Dr Sarah Anderson MBBS BSc DHC DGM MRCGP, Director of Futurehealth Brighton, GP   
Dr Jackie Applebee, GP, Tower Hamlets
Dr Mathew Armon DM FRCS, Consultant Vascular Surgeon                      
Dr David Bacon, Consultant Anaesthetist            
Dr J S Bamrah FRCPsych, Consultant Psychiatrist, past Medical Director, Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust                  
Dr Richard Banks, Consultant Physician (rt)        
Dr David Bareford RD, MD, FRCP, FRCPath, UKAS medical assessor, retired consultant haematologist.              
Hannah Basson, Secretary, Gloucester Area Health Sector Branch, Unite the Union (in personal capacity)
Shazeda Begum, member of Royal college of Nursing        
Dr Morris Bernadt, retired consultant psychiatrist
Dr Michael Beverly DCH FRCS FRCOrth, Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon                   
Dr Christopher A Birt, Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer, University of Liverpool 
Harvey Brown FBA, Professor, Oxford University         
Henrietta Bullard, retired Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist     
Dr Ann Capewell, Consultant Geriatrician
Karen Chilver, Palliative Care Nurse Specialist   
Mr Declan Clune, Secretary, Southampton and SW Hampshire Trades Union Council              
Dr Martin Conybeare, Orthopaedic Surgeon, ex Chairman of NHS District Management Committee
Prof Paul Cullinan, Professor of Occupational and Environmental Respiratory Disease, Imperial College London          
Dr Jack Czauderna, retired GP
Jonathan Darling, Consultant Paediatrician LGI Leeds
Dr Rishi Dhir, NHS orthopaedic surgical trainee, Junior Doctors’ Alliance
Moira Dick, paediatrician (rt), member of the BMA and the Medical Practitioners Union                 
Carol Draper Operational Manager, Nottingham Community Health NHS Trust   
Maggie Eisner, Retired GP and GP Training Programme Director, Bradford      
Dr Henry Fell, Consultant Microbiologist (rt)                    
Dr Roger A Fisken, Consultant Physician (rt)                      
Professor Peter Fleming, Consultant Paediatrician                          
Dr Amy Ford, Medical Oncology Consultant                      
Carlos Forni, Member of the Royal College of Nursing                
Dr Edwin AM Gale FRCP, Emeritus Professor of Diabetic Medicine, University of Bristol                 
Dr Michael C. Galvin FRCP FRCPath, Consultant Haemotologist (rt)                  
Dr Mary Gibbs, GP                  
Dr Helen Groom, GP     
Alyson Hall, Consultant Child Psychiatrist            
Dr David  Halpin FRCS, Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon (rt)                  
Dr David Hawkins, Consultant Physician         
Dr Hester, GP, Dunlop      
Dr Robert Higgo, Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, Bangor University                
Dr Nicholas Hopkinson MA FRCP PhD, Reader in Respiratory Medicine and Honorary Consultant Physician, Imperial College London           
Dr Samina Ishaq FRCA, FFPMRCA, Consultant Anaesthetist  
Dr Penelope Jarrett, GP
Dr Mona Kamal, NHS psychiatrist, Junior Doctors’ Alliance                    
Dr Jessica Kirker, Consultant Psychiatrist & Medical Psychotherapist (rt)              
Dr Simon Kirwin, Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist            
Gay Lee, Palliative Care Nurse and Member of the Royal College of Nursing                      
Dr Alan Lee                                  
Dr Mary Logan, GP (rt), member of Waltham Forest Save Our NHS 
Marion Macalpine, Unite, Member of Hackney Keep Our NHS Public      
Dr Aislinn Macklin-Doherty, NHS cancer specialist trainee, Junior Doctors’ Alliance 
Dr Iain Maclennan, MTCGP MFPH, GP and Consultant in Public Health (rt)                       
Dr Nick Mann, GP
Dr Gary Marlowe GP, de Beauvoir Surgery                  
Dr Caroline McCowen BA BM BCh FRCP FRCPCH, Consultant Paediatrician (rt)                
Dr Shabbir Mohamed MBChB(Hons) FRCOphth FRCSEd, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon            
Dr Ranjit More, Consultant Cardiologist              
Dr Pat Munday MD MB ChB, Consultant Genitourinary Physician, (rt)                  
Alexander Murray, Healthcare Assistant            
Alexandra Murrell, Nurse and Health Studies Lecturer                
Dr Carol Norris MBE FRCP Edin, Consultant Physician NHS Borders       
Ms Bobby Noyes, President, Southampton and SW Hampshire Trades Union Council                
Dr Maureen O’Leary, Consultant Psychiatrist (rt)      
Dr Julia Paterson, psychiatry trainee, Junior Doctors’ Alliance                      
Dr Audrey Platt, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist (rt)              
Dr Rob Primhak MD FRCPCH MRCP MB BS, Consultant Paediatrician (rt)                          
Dr John Puntis, Consultant Paediatrician                          
Councillor Mike Roberts Labour, Rushmoor Borough Council                    
Dr Sandy  Robertson, Consultant Psychiatrist (rt)          
Stephen Robertson, GMB Banbury Branch Secretary      
Jane Roderic-Evans, GP (rt)        
Dr Mary Rogerson FCRP, Consultant in Renal Medicine,              
Karen Sanders MSc RGN RNT, Member of the Royal College of Nursing    
Dr Robert Scott-Jupp, Consultant Paediatrician, Salisbury            
Dr Mohsen Shahmanesh MD FRCP, Consultant in HIV and Sexual Health (rt)                      
Dr Brian Silk FRCPCH FRCP, Consultant Paediatrician, Medical Director and Trust Chair (rt)                          
Dr Nigel, Speight Consultant Paediatrician                  
Dr Martin Stevens, FRCP, FRCPsych. Consultant Psychiatrist (retired)      
Dr R.L Symonds FRCPsych LLM, Consultant Psychiatrist, Medical member of the Tribunal Service for Mental Health        
Sue Tibbles, Trade Union Liaison Officer, South East Confederation of Green Parties                    
Dr Catherine Tuffrey, Consultant Paediatrician
Dr Helen Venning, Paediatrician (rt)
Dr Vanessa Venning, Consultant Dermatologist, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust                     
Dr Eric Watts DM FRCP FRCPath, Consultant Haematologist and Clinical Director (rt)                      
Dr Nollaig Whyte, Consultant Psychiatrist           
Pam Wortley, retired GP, Sunderland          
Dr Susie Wynne Willson, retired NHS child & adolescent psychiatrist    
Professor John S Yudkin MD FRCP, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, UCL; and Honorary Consultation Physician  
Dr Pam Zinkin, retired paediatrician, member of Islington Keep Our NHS Public    
Dr Sylvia Berney FRCP, FRCPath, consultant haemotologist
Dr Gillian Flower, retired consultant dermatologist
Yorkshire students 
Young Workers for the NHS
Katharine Youngs, Student nurse at Leeds University 

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Margaret Ellison replied on Permalink

In my experience as the Nurse Adviser to a Health Authority, privatised services were more expensive and not always with acceptable standards.

Malcolm Judd replied on Permalink

First thing any company does when winning a contract is to look at how they can make a bigger profit.

That results in cut corners, less staff, cheaper staff, staff less trained or qualified, cheaper materials and job not done properly.

People's health is far more important than money.

The love of money is the root of all evil.

Anne Thompson replied on Permalink

Agency staffing is a very expensive way to employ staff. NHS cannot afford public money to be used this way!

Marion Garrick replied on Permalink

This is not only ludicrous but immoral.

Jill Parker replied on Permalink

Stop the sale of NHS Professionals it will inevitably cost more as private recruitment costs more whichever way you look at it. Please make public how many MPs have a stake in private medical provision in all its guises

Fraser Britton replied on Permalink

Makes no sense, economic or moral

Tracey Strathdee replied on Permalink

This needs to be looked into

Mary Shek replied on Permalink

Some services need to be kept out of for profit sector and this is one of them. The NHS and NHS Professionals are not for sale.

Mj Watson replied on Permalink

Clearly the greedy fat cats have their eyes on the revenue that NHS Professionals generates! NO MORE SELLING OFF PUBLIC SECTOR SERVICES TO APPEASE THE GREED OF THE RICH AT THE EXPENSE OF US!

Mary Palin replied on Permalink

This is surely illegal. Certainly immoral. Private companies are there to make a profit. Shareholders demand ever increasing returns. This is giving away public money in handouts and damaging the economy.

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