Saturday, July 01, 2006

Privatisation By Stealth

"Drafting errors"

The NHS unions have got good reason to suspect privatisation by stealth. New Labour style "triangulation"- to the extent that it is actually capable of achieving anything- works by fooling people into believing something other than the truth. And everyone now understands that.

So when the Commissar says there were "drafting errors" in her European Journal ad for private sector companies to take over large chunks of the NHS, all she means is that she "triangulated" a little too obviously. Just as the Doc's been telling us, it really does seem that the plan may be to turn the NHS into a commissioning organisation: the actual services are to be provided by the private sector.

But if that's the plan, while it may be bad news for the unions, we taxpaying free market types must be rejoicing, right?

Well...hmm... not really.

There are two problems. First, trying to drive through major reform programmes by stealth is a recipe for chaos. As Labour have demonstrated repeatedly.

Second, the NHS- ie the commissars- would retain full control of the purse strings. And as we've blogged previously, although they're already Britain's biggest customers, their record on cost effective procurement is shocking. In the NHS alone, they recently gave away the store on the new doctors pay contracts, and the hospital cleaning contracts have turned some of our hospitals into no-go plague zones. We can have no confidence in their ability to commission the right services at the right price on our behalf.

But that's all academic anyway. Now they've been rumbled, this imploding government is incapable of taking such a plan anywhere.

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