Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tories Attempt To Privatise Blood

UNISON press release: Karen Jennings, UNISON Head of Health:

“What is this Government thinking of, is nothing safe? The blood service is world class and doesn’t need interfering with.

It epitomises how successfully volunteers and the public sector can work together, free from contamination by the profit motive. It is a service people are proud to work in and you cannot put a price on giving blood to save lives.

“We know from all the evidence that fragmenting services, outsourcing and the contracting out damages that ethos and more importantly damages the smooth running of the service.

“How can Cameron and Lansley claim that the NHS is safe in their hands, when they are planning to literally drain its lifeblood.”

Michael Walker UNISON Regional Officer states

"Blood Service Collection teams are fully committed to an NHS run blood service, so are the donor's who donate their blood, any attempt to privatise the service will be meet with a tidal wave of opposition from staff and donors. The Government should be under no illusion that we will fight any attempt to introduce profit making into the blood service, We have fought similar proposals from previous Conservative Governments, including the use of direct action and the staff will not hesitate to do so again"

"DH looks to private sector to save money on blood service
16 February, 2011 | By Sarah Calkin
The Department of Health is considering outsourcing key elements of the NHS blood service to the private sector. HSJ has learned the DH’s commercial directorate has held talks with private providers about running parts of the NHS Blood and Transplant service. It is not known which companies the department has already spoken to, but HSJ understands NHS Supply Chain, which is operated by logistics firm DHL has been invited in for discussions, as has Capita.

A senior source told HSJ the commercial directorate were “market testing the blood transfusion service” and “bringing people in to see how they would do it better”.  NHS Blood and Transplant survived the cull of arms length bodies in July but a second review was announced to look at how the service could become more “commercially effective” and identify functions which could be contracted out.

HSJ has been told the DH is considering outsourcing blood distribution and storage but keeping its collection in the NHS.  A DH spokeswoman confirmed the department was reviewing the future of the service.  She said: “It is important to recognise that NHSBT already outsources some of its support functions. The current review is at the early stages.

“During the review, we will be considering the experience and skills that exist in the private sector to identify opportunities for making NHSBT more commercially effective.  “We are not considering any functions that could risk destabilising the current national donor system, particularly the interface with donors. Where functions are being reviewed, ministers will be fully consulted before making any recommendations.”
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