Thursday, 5 July 2007

An attack on public services

The NHSBT management need encouragement to be honest about the future of the NBS as a public institution. Year by year commercialisation creeps into the Blood Service, and associated organisations like the Bio Products Laboratory. Managing Director Peter Garwood was questioned by a rep on a recent visit to a centre, on whether the NBS planned to sell off its in-house transport wing to private contractors. He admitted that this had not been ruled out as an option.

Profit-seeking private firms are like vultures circling the NHS, and whenever they make inroads, they destroy the service for patients and staff alike. Look at ward cleaning nowadays for example, or the chaos in the provision of oxygen to patients. This vital lifeline was sold to a US corporation with a dodgy financial record, and within weeks a woman had died when her oxygen failed to be delivered in time. Opposing privatisation is not only an ethical matter, it makes sense for the safety and wellbeing of those whose lives hang in the balance.

This restructuring strategy is dressed up as modernisation, but it is a warning sign for future dangerous steps backwards. Centralisation is recognised as one of the early stages in the move towards privatisation. NBS staff are well aware of this, and like health workers everywhere, oppose it. We want to protect the integrity of our Blood Service so that we can all rely on it in the future.



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