An open letter to Matt Hancock on the Private Healthcare announcement

Hospitals staff pull along a bed

25 March 2020

Dear Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health & Social Care,


Thank you for bringing private healthcare capacity into public control to tackle the coronavirus crisis. This was exactly what needed to be done. This vital boost to beds, staff and intensive care equipment will save more lives, plain and simple. 

We’re happy to hear you recognise that no one should be profiting off our collective illness. We’ve seen reports that ‘no profit will be made’ by companies, but now we need to see the deal. 

That’s why we’re demanding that this ‘deal’ be made public, every dot and comma of it. You have stated that it will be done with “Open book” accounting, and external auditors verifying the public money being used. But we deserve to see what is being contracted to private companies here, including staffing arrangements. As Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs offer their hotels to NHS staff for free, we repeat no profit should be made in this arrangement. 

Over 17,000 NHS beds have gone since 2010, meaning patients were already being sent to private hospitals for treatment, channeling cash and vital NHS staff to private companies. NHS capacity must be expanded to serve our communities: it is not there to prop up private companies.

This experience has taught us that we are all in this together, and that our NHS is a vital life saving organ looking after our health together, no matter whether you can pay. 

To keep our NHS intact at the end of this, we ask that you pledge:

  • That this ‘deal’ be made public, every dot and comma of it. 
  • To end all of these contracts after this crisis. We know that private companies are hungry for long term NHS contracts. This means chunks out of the NHS budget are given to companies who in turn take profits, wasting money and fragmenting our health service. We do not want privatisation by stealth. 
  • Reinstate our NHS by ending all privatisation across the service as soon as this is over. 
  • That the NHS gets adequate funding and capacity to guarantee proper staffing and the beds required to treat people, so that the long term crisis in our health can end. 

This crisis, that grips our families and friends every day, has shown that the NHS needed more capacity to deal with this in the first place. We hope to work with you to do this in the coming years.

Co-signed by

Oxfordshire Socialist Health Association, Keep our NHS Public Oxfordshire, as well as

Hospitals staff pull along a bed

Do you believe in public services for people not profit?

Win campaigns for public ownership by subscribing to our mailing list! We'll hold your data in accordance with our privacy policy and send you carefully chosen information about current and future campaigns, projects and appeals. You can unsubscribe at any time.


Karen Lewis replied on Permalink

Private hospitals should sacrifice profits for the good of the country

belinda french replied on Permalink

Can we put pressure on the government to finish building Liverpool's new hospital that got stopped by Carillion going bust. And getting on with the other 50 hospitals promised.

Helen Clare Dixon replied on Permalink

It better not be for profit!

Suki Jones replied on Permalink

Excellent, keep up the good work xx

Tony Beddow replied on Permalink

To assess the absence of "profit" the full costs and full income streams need to be compared. Many companies apparently make no profit - but only because their costs are deliberately inflated by payments to directors and shareholders. Open book arrangements are needed here.

Roland Scales replied on Permalink

Open government - NOW!

Wendy fletcher replied on Permalink

This is a deeply ethical question for the government. Do they want the population as a whole to feel confident that they are looked after or do they want a country where a great number who cannot afford private insurance will simply become unhealthy and possibly die, as in America . This will increase inequality which is known to reduce the level of contentment in the people. Will they sell us out or will they care for us.

Brian Morris replied on Permalink

Why haven't the insurance companies and private medical suppliers followed the example of the footballer-hoteliers? Why haven't the hotel companies followed that example?

Joan O'Hagan replied on Permalink

Our demand here - about showing us what's in the deal -is just the kind of basic accountability and open-ness which we need to sustain in our democratic society. And the ideas about keeping our NHS Public are also about accountability. They're also of course about making sure private companies don't end up - immediately or in the future - profiting from this crisis. I've just registered as a volunteer with the RVS; I'm not expecting to gain anything from that apart from a sense that I'm acting as a good citizen.

Linda Reid replied on Permalink

The NHS shouldn't be buying in private beds they should be recquisitioned. If as you state there will be no profit made by the private sector we need to see the deal

Michael Galvin replied on Permalink

Provision of Health care is not something that should ever be driven by profit. Universal Health Care should be (is) a Human Right.

Richard Davis replied on Permalink

This crisis shows the need for a properly funded NHS. The figures on deaths from the USA are bad enough on their own, but Many will be the people that cannot afford to pay for proper healthcare.

John Smith-Warren replied on Permalink

This is OUR NHS, you are not allowed to change it without our permission, Mr Hancock. One more thing: you were elected as an MP to do our bidding so remember, the electorate voted for you to be their representative. A representative should represent the wishes of the electorate and not further their personal interests. We, the electorate, want an NHS owned by the public not a “health service” owned by a private business concern - forget that at your peril...

Mark ackerley replied on Permalink

Be open and honest,absolutely no profiteering!!

Alfie howard replied on Permalink

Tories for once tell the truth.

Sarah replied on Permalink

The NHS need more beds and absolutely cannot afford to pay for them. However private hospital should give their beds away for free as they have more than enough beds AND money!

Michael Caulfield replied on Permalink

We the people of this country did not give the government permission to sell any part of the NHS and demand we take it back and finance the NHS as it should be not cutting the finance all the time

Fred Dockerill replied on Permalink

Bring everything back into public ownership

Helen Pearson replied on Permalink

This crisis lays bare the damage already done to the NHS through years of surreptitious privatisation. Now is the time to throw out all private companies and rebuild a properly funded, fully publicly owned, well-run NHS again.

Brian Harding replied on Permalink

Now is the time to reassess everything we do. It's proven that privatisation is not the answer, for the NHS or anything else. Sad though the current situation is, it's a wake-up call for the way things could be.

Julian Stratton replied on Permalink

Private health providers should not be able to profit out of this. There should be legislation in place that stipulates that under certain circumstances, such as this, private health providers MUST work with the NHS with NO financial implication involved other cover the true cost of the service involved. Where organisations are found to make a profit out if this sort of situation, they MUST be penalised. The NHS is clearly struggling and it is the responsibility of all healthcare providers to provide a service to those who need it.

Odette Swann replied on Permalink

We also need a total overhaul of healthcare in this country once we are through all of this. The 'business'model that puts the interests, and the pay rewards, of management, HR and IT departments before those of frontline clinical staff, must go. We need a centralised, streamlined NHS where the onus is on cooperation, not competition; where frontline workers feel valued, well-treated and able to ask for what they need, not what managers are prepared to spend; and where the standard of care is uniformly high across the whole of the United Kingdom.

Robin. Murch replied on Permalink

The NHS....Is the best health service in the world.......yet the Governments have underfunded it for years.....even whenin the declared No one National threat. has been declared to be .."A Global Pandemic." The Nuclear Threat is secondary yet gets £205 billion...with out asking. We need an end of stupid policies like. The ending of student nurses bursaries....which has caused an awful manpower crisis, totally predictable.

It is high time took good care of our NHS.... in the Nations Interest

Glynne Williams replied on Permalink

Those beds should have been requisitioned by the government, given we've been told this is a war. The NHS should be given those beds for free! Shame on Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock.

Angela Brown replied on Permalink

The NHS has been paid for by all working people and should be for their benefit not for private profiteering.

Shannon Coles replied on Permalink

The NHS is precious. We need it. Don’t allow it to be dismantled for profit.

Andrew replied on Permalink

The Tories have already put millions of our taxes and NI which should be going to OUR NHS and not lining the pockets of the Tory mps with shares in these companies.

Howard Davies replied on Permalink

The NHS must stay in the public domain, almost a third has already been privatised and must be given back. The government is given money by us and MUST use it for our benefit not for their own profit.

E Harkin replied on Permalink

No privatisation by the back door after the current crisis is ended.

Susan Richardson replied on Permalink

Maybe one good thing that will come out of this corona virus emergency will be that the government finally realises that privatisation has decreased the capacity of the NHS by, as you said, taking money for providing profitable services while leaving the NHS to deal with costly and more difficult cases. I can only hope that the need to unite all services in this crisis will lead to a full public NHS afterwards.

John Latham replied on Permalink

The NHS needs to be made secure for crises to come.

Christina Downes replied on Permalink

Fund the NHS according to its needs as a comprehensive, cradle to grave, national service. It's a question of priorities. It was not established to make profits for private companies but to provide free health care for all. Abolish prescription charges!

Leigh kelly replied on Permalink

Yes absolutely, profit from this crisis should not be as lowed wether it be over inflated prices on a bag of pasta or companies charging for the hire of hospital beds. These companies who have stepped into help st this time should not be rewarded with contract when the crisis is over. This should in no way be seen as an opportunity to sell anything off or for individuals, companies to make profit or political friends.

Sian Hartley replied on Permalink

Over 17,000 NHS beds have gone since 2010, meaning patients were already being sent to private hospitals for treatment. The NHS should not be paying the private health companies.

Fran Jones replied on Permalink

I was going to ask the same question of them. I don’t want Branson et al profiteering from this

Alan Fox replied on Permalink

Jpohnsons first priority will always be his fat cat business chums

Charles Cooper replied on Permalink

As a tax payer, I won’t to know

Edwin Picton replied on Permalink

More care for more people is needed

Mary Taylor replied on Permalink

This deal has been made on our behalf, with our resources. We have a right to scrutinise it.

Barbara Harvey replied on Permalink

Our NHS has been subjected to privatisation by stealth. You are in power because of the lies and the secrecy . Please show honest leadership and give us back our NHS as it was created by be an Bevan in 1948. Anything less than this will cause death and hardship for millions of people.... We do not want an American style health care system

Andrew Sayer replied on Permalink

Be very suspicious! It's the perfect time to hide information.

alice bowen replied on Permalink

After this crisis it is obvious that all privatisation of the NHS should stop...that there is no place for private health care/privatisation of a public service because as is obvious from this emergency the only way that public health can be protected is through a publicly funded free at the point of use health care service that is based on clinical need and not one's ability to pay.

And of course the dreadful immigration fee of now £600+ should be scrapped.

Ann Cane replied on Permalink

The coronavirus has highlighted just how vital and awesome public ownership is

Mark Gibson replied on Permalink

Government is telling the people that we are on a 'war time' footing - and people are certainly responding by giving up on many of the activities that make their lives enjoyable & rewarding . We all despise the stories of profiteering that deny decent folk from having their fair share .

Surely , after all the sacrifices the Great British public is making , it's not too much to ask that medical companies TRULY forego the profit motive during this dire emergency . Let's not forget - in war times requisition of services is mandatory . We all need to know that private health care companies are operating within the spirit of community good .

Kim Farrelly replied on Permalink

How can you protect the NHS when you’re aim is to sell it once Covid 19 is over.. they should honour the NHS by swearing on oath never to sell it to Branson and the US.

George Boyd replied on Permalink

Dear Matt Hancock please work with the we own it team to beat this Coronavirus and properly funded nhs Thank You

Loraine O'Farrell replied on Permalink

The Private Health service should be disbanded.They do not have ethical Medical cover for critical illnesses.They send ill patients to the NHS on Fridays,so thay have werkends off.Charges are excessive.

Rachel Clarke replied on Permalink

Yes, every dot, every comma - YOU are here to serve US, the people of the UK, not private providers. As a taxpayer, I want full TRANSPARENCY and an end to privatisation by stealth. I've already seen the negative effects of this for patients in the job dealing with health complaints.

Arthur Mitchell replied on Permalink

Our health is in the public domain. So too should our health services be.

Dorothy Woodcock replied on Permalink

For too long the NHS has been privatised by the backdoor giving contracts to private companies.

Private hospitals drain the NHS. It is imperative that the sacrifice they are now making is free and doesn’t take vital money from the public purse when the opportunity to rebuild our country comes after the end of the present crisis.

PETER HOULDSWORTH replied on Permalink

Take all the private providers of NHS services back into the public sector

Sue Childs replied on Permalink

I absolutely agree. No private company should be making profits out of this crisis. The Prime Minister stands every day in front of a banner saying ‘The NHS’. After the current crisis is over let the government continue to stand behind the NHS by properly funding it and stopping and reversing the privatisation of our health services.

David James replied on Permalink

I have always believed that essential public services should be publicly owned and operated not-for-profit, for the benefit of everybody.

Patricia DIXON replied on Permalink

No comments. I agree with what you have said to the Health Secretary.

Catherine Ebenezer replied on Permalink

These beds should have been requisitioned under emergency legislation, not purchased.

FREDERICK PARR replied on Permalink

Govt is elected by the people.For the benefit of the people.The people own the NHS not the politicians or Big business. TAKE NOTE. THE PEOPLE'S BUS PERIOD

MELVYN HENRY replied on Permalink

It is a mark of a civilised country to have health care organised by the state so that all citizens receive health care.

Catherine de Visser replied on Permalink

Transparency has always be paramount to nurses Drs an£ the NHS

We need the Government to be transparent with us too

Keep our NHS public

t murray replied on Permalink

As an 80+ year old I have benefitted greatly by having been given 2 new knees and a pacemaker, all of which I am grateful for. However it was all done at private facilities and it bothered me greatly that public funds were being syphoned off to private medicine when they could have been kept for the public wealth.

Gay Lee replied on Permalink

Support the (NHS) Reinstatement Bill!

Jakki Gillett replied on Permalink

We have to have total transparency on this.

Margaret Byrne replied on Permalink

Should not have made a deal and just comandeered them it is a national emergency.

anne lintott replied on Permalink

This covid 19 scenario is showing most dramatically what we have lost in terms of NHS capacity which was consistently denied by politicians; the results are becoming clear in terms of mortality .

The dedication,motivation and clarity of NHS staff are in striking contrast to the normal behaviour and 'flannelling 'of politicians.They do not listen to NHS staff who repeatedly tell the truth .

Our fear when this is over is that the privatisation and downgrading of resources will rapidly return to the status quo.The NHS was in 2011 one of the best services in the world .What has happened ?

Joy Burchell replied on Permalink

The NHS belongs to your citizens and should not be sold off to the highest bidder

John Harwood replied on Permalink

If there's one thing that we need it is protection from our own government.

Norma replied on Permalink

Keep our NHS properly funded in all it's parts.

It's been ours for 72 years and it's going to stay that way !

Elaine Marchant... replied on Permalink

It is important that private hospitals and medicine do not profit from this awful situation

Mrs Geraldine D... replied on Permalink

We need everything this government does to be transparent. They have proved themselves untrustworthy. They need to be called to account re their actions on the pandemic and their statistics need to be thoroughly investigated as published numbers are suspect.

Christine Ellison replied on Permalink

Simply,thank you.

Hugh Tait replied on Permalink


Delma Warden replied on Permalink

I look forward to seeing the NHS properly funded!

Bruce Lamond replied on Permalink

No profiteering from I’ll health

Richard Moody replied on Permalink

The NHS was introduced on my second birthday. My whole family were apparently delighted that they no longer had to pay high rates of cash to see the Doctor. Can you imagine what would happen today if we had had a fee paying health service and Aneuran Bevan came forward with his idea now. He would be slated by much of the press because of its socialist philosophy. We should remember that the introduction of the NHS was opposed by many Tories at the time.

Dick Moody

Joe Price replied on Permalink

Nobody should profit from this crisis.

Kathryn Young replied on Permalink

Both my parents went through the war (my mother was a Q A nurse) and they would have been horrified to see the extent that private contracts are now allowed to operate in our hard-fought-for NHS.

Susan Abel replied on Permalink

Shareholders must not profit from this.

BogOff replied on Permalink

There's a logistics problem we hear ~ and no one in "government" EVER PROPERLY answers ANY pertinent questions. You do NOT need to be a barrister to understand the blatant linguistic contortions in which they squirm. However, might I suggest that as our "private... wonderful... road haulage industry" has demonstrated it cannot or will not step up ~ then why send a £4Bn AIRCRAFT CARRIER and deliver supplies by REAPER DRONE ~ just goes to show how impotent and redundant are the war heads.

Jenni Stuart-An... replied on Permalink

Whilst communities are forming groups to help people, some others still want to profit, even from people's misfortune.

Claire Barrow replied on Permalink

I look forward with interest to your response to the letter above.

Lesley Rollinson replied on Permalink

Come on private hospitals, do your bit.

Gavin Williams replied on Permalink

In 1999 I was treated in a private South African hospital. Care was excellent. Medicine aimed to take as much money as they could from my (expensive) travel insurance policy, which paid up. Meinline is a very profitable international company. Will we pay private companies for 'free' public care. what ia the deal - see above!

gavin williams

Ms Kahn Priestley replied on Permalink

No profits for privateers, no concessions, no sweetners, no 'understandings'. Resource the public's National Health Service properly.

AVERIL WOOD replied on Permalink

Profiting from a global disaster which is costing the masses their lives and livelihoods, creating orphans, is not just an obscenity, it is an act by this Government which demonstrates their immorality

Lynne Crowe (Mr... replied on Permalink

Our PM is appearing to be on the right track now, but we can't afford to forget that his mantra is still: "Me, The Party, then the Nation". So Yes, v. good news about the private sector chipping in, but we can't afford to trust it, or him.

Carol Davey replied on Permalink

This profit before any other consideration must stop. The country’s health should come first

Samuel Barnes replied on Permalink

One can always be redeemed.

Janet Kaiser replied on Permalink

The NHS must be returned to the public hand NOW! This is proof that making health profiteering business model is not in our national interest. Paying shareholders instead of buying supplies, building and maintaining hospitals and employing highly trained staff was never a good idea. Bring back a proper National HEALTH Service NOW!

Simon Giddey replied on Permalink

All medical facilities in the country must be united in working towards solving this crisis without a profit motive!

Andrew Hickey replied on Permalink

The health of the nation is a major concern as is the necessity to keep it in public ownership.

Helen Miller replied on Permalink

If the NHS has capacity and the Nightingale hospitals throughout the country are nearly empty the NHS must finish the deals with the private hospitals asap - otherwise once again more money is being wasted. The Nightingale hospitals should be further utilised maybe as CoronaVirus hospitals - this will allow further space in the current hospitals and provide the public with more confidence to go if the CoronaVirus cases are being cared for at a different place.

The contracts with the private hospitals can be viewed by the public if an organisation puts in a Freedom of Information request.

Add new comment