Stephen Fry throws his weight behind campaign to prevent deaths from outsourcing of NHS services
Stephen Fry and a group of other celebrities have joined a campaign asking NHS leaders to act to prevent deaths as a result of outsourcing of health services.
The group has written an open letter to NHS chairs following a new study published in The Lancet which links NHS privatisation to 557 deaths. The study suggests the deaths may be a result of “a decline in the quality of health-care services” when run by for-profit private companies, as compared to when those services are run directly by the NHS.
Among the other celebrities to sign the open letter are the actor Samuel West and the musician Brian Eno.
They’ve written in advance of the launch of anew campaign – ‘End NHS privatisation, save lives’ on October 20, which is demanding that local NHS leaders pledge to reverse NHS privatisation. The campaign is being coordinated by anti-privatisation campaign group We Own It, with support from members of Keep Our NHS Public.
The letter reads, “A new study in Britain’s most prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, has found that, between 2014 and 2020, increases in outsourcing to the for-profit sector corresponded with increases in treatable mortality. The study linked the privatisation of NHS services to 557 deaths. The authors suggest the deaths may be a result of “a decline in the quality of health-care services” when run by for-profit private companies, as compared to when those services are run directly by the NHS.
“We are alarmed by this. We want to ask you as our NHS leaders to do what you can to prevent deaths from privatisation.”
Johnbosco Nwogbo, lead campaigner at We Own It said, “We know that privatisation hurts the NHS and patients because it enables private companies to suck millions of pounds out of the NHS in shareholder profits. This is money that should be going toward taking care of people at a time when waiting lists are through the roof.
“But this new study confirms that this situation is also endangering lives. The NHS should be run for the good of people, not to enable large profits to be made by private companies. With all the evidence now available to us, to not change course would reflect an unhealthy obsession with an ideology of privatisation at the expense of people.”
Tony O’Sullivan, co-chair of NHS campaign group Keep Our NHS Public said, “We are living through such dangerous times under a Tory leadership with openly embedded links to the IEA and hard right libertarian anti-NHS groups. We must campaign together to restore and protect our publicly provided NHS. Health services in private hands puts profits before patients and are either more expensive or less safe or – most damaging of all – both of these: costly, dangerous and inequitable.”
We Own It says the group plans to mobilise thousands of people in each of the NHS’ regions behind the campaign to demand local NHS leaders heed the call in the letter.
Image credit: Maurice – Creative Commons
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