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Virgin vultures swoop on vulnerable people's services
Jim Thomson, Chair of Exeter Anti-Cuts Alliance
Public Health not private wealth - protest against privatisation in the NHS 2011, photo Paul Mattsson
Richard Branson's Virgin multinational won the bid to deliver NHS and social care services to young people in Devon. This profit-seeking company will run frontline services in a deal worth up to £130 million.
Private companies delivering care to vulnerable people is abhorrent, but this move could open the floodgates to the further slicing up of the NHS, with private companies able to pick and choose which service they want to run.
These companies could have little or no experience in healthcare. Privatisation simply transfers wealth from the state to big business, as has been shown by the G4S Olympic security scandal - with the taxpayer picking up the bill. So not only is privatisation of NHS services, like that in Devon, dangerous and disgusting, it is also ideological and unfair.
The situation is made even worse by the 19-trust pay cartel, South West Pay Consortium, which wants to drive down health wages across south-west England. The Consortium plans to smash nationally negotiated pay and conditions. Workers could face 15% pay cuts along with longer working hours and cuts to annual leave.
The coalition government is destroying all our public services and attacking the working class. We need to fight every cut, through community-based anti-cuts organisations, trade union industrial action and through a socialist, political alternative.
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