UNISON launches Campaign to keep Manchester’s Ambulances Public


UNISON, the UK’s largest union, is today launching a campaign to save patient transport services in Greater Manchester from being sold off to a private company.

Last week it was announced that Arriva, a bus company, had been awarded preferred bidder status on a 3 year contract for non-emergency patient transport in Greater Manchester. The service provides non-urgent transport to and from hospital appointments for those with real medical needs.

Even though an in-house bid scored better on service quality, Arriva won the contract as the lowest priced option. UNISON is deeply concerned that Arriva will put its drive for profits before the needs of patients – leading to declining service quality that will hit patient care.

Angela Rayner, UNISON North West region, said:

“The privatisation of non-emergency ambulance services in Greater Manchester is wrong and today we are launching a campaign to stop it. This is an important service, for people with real medical needs. It is a disgrace that the winning bidder was not the provider with the highest standards, just the lowest cost.

“We know that privatisation is deeply unpopular with the public. Recent high profile privatisation failings have revealed just how badly things can go wrong – we don’t want patients in Manchester to suffer as a result of this decision.

“This is the worrying shape of things to come under the Tory health reforms that throw the doors wide open to private companies making a killing from our NHS.”

The launch will take place in the Lord Mayors Parlour at 7pm Monday 15th October in Manchester Town Hall, with speakers including patients, Andrew Gwynne MP for Denton & Reddish and member of the Shadow Health team, Lucy Powell Parliamentary Candidate for Manchester Central, Angela Rayner UNISON Northwest Region.

Recent polling by ComRes for UNISON reveals a lack of public trust in private companies providing public services. The polling reveals a widespread awareness amongst the public that private companies fail to deliver on their contractual obligations and that privatisation leads to lower quality services.

– 62% do not trust private companies to run public services.
– Only one in five (20%) believe that privatisation has led to better quality services to the public, nearly three times as many (55%) believe that public services are of worse quality under privatisation.
– 81% believe that private companies either frequently or sometimes fail to meet their contractual obligations.

Privatisation failures

Only last week it was reported that the botched tendering process for the West Coast Mainline would cost the taxpayer between £40 million and £100 million.

It was recently reported that Serco, a private company running out of hours GP services in Cornwall, had given false data to the NHS on 252 occasions. This followed an inquiry, after fears were raised that the service was so understaffed, it was unsafe – concerns about the service and the effect on the public remain.

Six patients at Lister Hospital suffered irreversible sight loss after they received poor aftercare when they were treated by a private company owned by construction firm Carillion.

Despite failing to deliver on its Olympics contract, G4S boss Nick Buckles has admitted that he expects to be paid its £57 million management fee in full, despite the public sector – the army – stepping in to keep the Olympics safe.

Care home company Southern Cross collapsed in June 2011, leaving the company’s 31,000 vulnerable residents facing huge uncertainty. The company had been operated by a private equity firm that made money from a complicated sale and leaseback arrangement with its buildings.

In August this year, some workers at private care home Winterbourne View received a prison sentenced after they were caught on camera abusing vulnerable patients. The home has since been closed down.

Visit our website at www.savemanchesterpatienttransport.org.uk to join the campaign & sign the online petition.
Facebook: facebook.com/saveournhsambulances
Twitter: twitter.com/saveournhsamb

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