Campaign guide - NHS Privatisation

The Health & Social Care Act 2012 paved the way for rapidly accelerating NHS privatisation in England - read on for why we must try to hold it back, and some practical ideas. One of OurNHS's key NHS campaigns

10 December 2013

Privatisation / commissioning - who’s involved?

Read openDemocracy stories on privatisation of the NHS (and other public services) here and here or see links on the right.

‘Who’s involved?’ Some profiles of private health companies from the NHS Supporters Federation. Corporate Watch and Keep Our NHS Public also have profiles.

Find OurNHS stories on Virgin, Circle, United Health, Spire, Care UK, G4S, Serco.

‘A Healthy Market’ - File on Four recently investigated how much we really know about the private companies now taking over the NHS.

‘MPs financial links to companies involved in private healthcare’ - a report by Andrew Robertson of Social Investigations.

Health Industry Lobbying Tour - a video by Tamasin Cave of Spinwatch/ The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency unpicking the links between government, lobbyists and private health companies.

Some 3rd sector organisations have become closely involved - OurNHS looks at the role of charities and mutuals.

Clinical Commissioning Groups are the body tasked with making local ‘commissioning’ decisions, see our page on understanding how and why they operate here.

Privatisation/commissioning - what’s the impact?

What’s the impact of privatisation? An A-Z index of issues from the NHS Supporters Federation.

 ‘Destabilising our Healthcare’ - How private companies could threaten the ethics and efficiency of the NHS’ - a report from the NHS Supporters Federation

‘Competition in the NHS - good or bad or something else?’ The (rather pro-market) Kings Fund collates the studies, though rather glosses over the difference between private competition (no evidence of benefit) and competition between NHS providers (a more mixed picture, possibly).  

‘Competition in healthcare - the risks’ - An excellent and well referenced overview of the evidence by Dr Jonathan Tomlinson.

‘The madness of NHS privatisation’ - The evidence as collated by from Clive Peedell of the National Health Action Party.


Give your GP a ‘No private provider’ postcard.

Find out what contracts are being put out to tender or ‘Any Qualified Provider’ (a kind of tendering) in your area (click on ‘find new opportunities’). 

Whether services have already been privatised, or are threatened with it, or you just don’t know yet, ask some of the questions suggested in the TUC guide (especially p14-15) or the Keep Our NHS Public CCG guide.

Research your own MP’s financial interests.


See other campaigning tips on our 'Resources - Campaign tools' page here.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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