Barts Health NHS Trust which is already £135 million in debt (the biggest in NHS history) has just contracted out its hospital facilities to Serco in a £600 deal. The Trust runs 5 sites across London.
Serco already has a shocking reputation due to a series of scandals, including its inability to manage an NHS out-of-hours primary care service in Cornwall. The Unite Union has expressed concern and called for staff to be paid at least the London living wage.
Now we have voted to get out of Europe, fights against this sort of outsourcing and privatisation should be made easier. Once out we will no longer have to abide by EU policies. The privatisation of public services and assets has been enforced by the European Commission and European Central Bank, especially on those countries which have faced crises, such as Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland. There has been a great ‘fire sale’ of public services and assets across Europe, coupled with deregulation and austerity measures. This has resulted in job cuts, lower wages and conditions, and massive bills for taxpayers, as huge loans for private finance initiatives have to be paid back at high rates of interest.
It is time for those who voted to remain in the EU to understand how leaving takes away policies that our politicians can use as excuses for issues such as privatisation. That won’t stop it happening, unless we take action, but it is a first, vital step forward.