Councils’ privatisation of waste management services is a massive mess – Greater Manchester has borrowed £500m to end PFI waste deal

Privatisation is not just making a mess of our NHS. It is also making a mess of a whole host of Council services, including waste management.

An article by Greg Pitcher in today’s Local Government Chronicle reports that Greater Manchester Combined Authority has borrowed £500m to end its PFI waste deal with Viridor Laing.

It has done this in order to re-procure a cheaper waste management services contract with a private company. Viridor is among 6 companies that are in the running to win the contract. So Greater Manchster Combined Authority are paying £500m to buy out a contract so they can re-procure a cheaper one, possibly from the same company.

The Local Government Chronicle website provides a sorry saga of waste management services profiteering, rip offs and incompetence. The argument that private sector provision of public services would increase efficiency and value for money lies dead in the water. If it ever had any life in it,  it certainly doesn’t now. Continue reading

Sustainability and Transformation Plans – the great NHS sell off by digitech woo merchants Stevens & Swindells

Digitech is central to NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans, says ex-Cerner Vice President turned NHS England Director.

What fresh revolving door horror is this?

Before he started his job at NHS England – pushing digitech as key to Sustainability and Transformation Plans –  Matthew Swindells was Senior Vice President  at the US health digitech company Cerner.

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Big support for new petition that asks Calderdale Council to keep public services in public hands

Calderdale 38 Degrees NHS Campaign Group were out on the street in sunny Halifax on Saturday 11 July to launch their Calderdale Public Service Users petition, which is addressed to Calderdale Council.

Hundreds of people signed the petition and the campaigners were kept busy answering questions from passers by.

The Petition calls on Calderdale Council to set up a new procedure for providing public services, so that the Council:

  • is always the preferred provider
  • publicly justifies every decision to privatise services
  • only awards contracts to companies that observe both UK and international Human Rights Law, recognise Trade Unions, pay a living wage and have no history of fraud, tax dodging or endangering public or employees’ safety
  • fully informs the public about all public service contracts, at all stages- from what contracts cover to how the Council manages them
  • favours local companies and requires big contract winners to subcontract to local companies

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21 questions about Calderdale Council’s proposal to privatise Community Social Work

Calderdale Council Adults Health and Social Care Scrutiny Panel will today (31 March 2015) scrutinise a proposal to set up a pilot that will test the outsourcing/privatisation of Community Social Work.

The cost-cutting aim is to turn the Council’s Support at Home social work service into a Public Service Mutual (PSM), along the lines of the “People to People” scheme in Shropshire – saving Calderdale Council £2.5m in 2017/18.

The Calderdale Community Social Work PSM would be set up in a form to allow ‘commercial’ or  ‘investment’ funding; it would be profit-making and would allow staff to take 35% of the yearly profits. Continue reading

Privatised wheelchair service doesn’t meet patients’ needs

Only a few months into the privatised wheelchair services contract, patients (and their parents, in the case of children who use wheelchairs) are complaining at their treatment by Opcare Ltd – the company that the Clinical Commissioning Groups awarded the contract to in 2014.

Cllr Megan Swift is investigating complaints by parents of children with disabilities.

Fern Bast, a Hebden Bridge resident with very restricted mobility and in constant pain as a result of spinal degeneration, has complained at the treatment she’s received from Opcare at their outreach clinic site in Halifax. Continue reading

Hebden Bridge says No to Big Bad Treaty that would end the NHS

By mid afternoon on Saturday 30th August, over a hundred Hebden Bridge residents and visitors had signed the 38 Degrees Petition to Stop the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Deal at a stall in St George’s Square.

If the government signs up to the Treaty, this will effectively end the NHS, by opening it up to international trade laws that give private health care corporations more power than governments.

The NHS is already being damaged by cuts and privatisation. This process would accelerate, irreversibly, if the government signs up to TTIP.

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Calderdale NHS commissioners end wheelchair services contract with hospitals Trust: “we have no loyalty to existing providers”

Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body was in self congratulatory mode on 10th July as they approved the award of a £4m, 3 year Wheelchair Services contract to an as-yet unnamed bidder.

The bidder’s name will be revealed at the end of the 10 day “standstill” that follows the Governing Body’s decision.- Update 30/7/2014 – The contract has gone to a company called Opcare Ltd.

The hospitals Trust, which currently provides wheelchair services to patients in Calderdale, Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees, will lose the contract in September. The Trust already faces a £20m funding shortfall this financial year and the loss of this contract will further reduce its income. Continue reading

Protect Our NHS – Straws in the wind

This is a quick round up of some issues that are likely to shape the NHS after the Health and Social Care Act comes into effect from 1 April 2013:

  • Freedom of Information
  • GPs freedom (or not) to disagree with their Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Privatisation of Commissioning Support Units ( the organisations that are supposed to support Clinical Commissioning Groups)

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