Stop this carve-up

The news that Virgin Care has been named as preferred bidder for integrated children’s services in Devon is extremely disappointing and worrying.

The experience of privatised services in the last few decades is that the standard of the service will decline as profit is prioritised over service delivery.

Not only this, but staff pay, conditions and morale will be eroded, and if there are serious problems with the services provided, or Virgin Care suddenly decide that they don’t want to provide the service, taxpayers and the overstretched remnants of the council and NHS services will be left to carry the can.

But sadly this is only the beginning. This particular privatisation is being carried out using a law passed by the previous Labour government. There will be more of this strip-mining of public services for private profit to follow in under the legislation passed by the coalition government.

Vital services in the NHS in North Devon will be put out to tender next year. Private companies will be able to cherry-pick the services they see as easiest to provide and therefore make money out of, while the taxpayer is left with the complex unprofitable services which financially it will be increasingly unable to provide to any decent standard.

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This process of privatising public services must stop. All services must be brought back in-house to councils, and into the NHS, so services are run for the people of Devon not to fatten the wallets of far-off shareholders.

This will also ensure that services are subject to democratic control and scrutiny, which is lost when they are provided by private companies not subject to the same sort of accountability and transparency as public sector organisations.

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Jim Lowe

North Devon Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Victoria Street


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