NHS Professionals provides a ‘bank’ of staff who work flexibly across our health service. It is used by over 65 NHS trusts in England and saves the NHS money by supplying staff more cheaply than private sector agencies.
Now the government wants to sell over 70 per cent of NHS Professionals to a private company. It is wrong for the government to sell off such a large stake in an organisation that saves the NHS approximately £70 million per year.
Excessive sums of money are being spent on agency staff because of a failure to recruit full-time staff, but NHS Professionals helps to keep the costs of Tory failure down.. According to figures from the NHS Institute, £3.64 billion was spent on agency and contract staff in 2015-16. The government believes that NHS Professionals requires significant investment to enable it to expand, so it can deliver improved services to NHS trusts and reduce the reliance on agency staff.
However, the answer should not be more privatisation. At the last election, I stood on a Manifesto that committed to reversing the privatisation of our NHS and return our health service to expert public control.
The government is currently in negotiation with several private companies who are bidding for the majority stake in NHS Professionals. I will follow this process closely and press the government to put patients before profit.