YOUR headline last week (November 28) read: “Care for sale: Firms invited to bid for 1,500 NHS procedures”, reporting that private contractors are being asked to “provide prices for more than 1,500 procedures including a range of operations such as heart, cancer and brain surgery “to support the NHS in Scotland”, and that “health care support” could be provided abroad.
However, as in all things, context is critical. The proposed contract would mean on average 300 procedures per year. However, NHS Scotland does 270,000 operations, so private sector involvement is less than one per cent.
Moreover, only later in the article do we learn that the value of the contract is “£150m” over the “five years of the system”. However, in the current year, NHS Scotland’s budget is £15.3 billion, so spending on the private sector would be an even smaller fraction of one per cent than the number of procedures. If this is the “Scots NHS for sale” then there is a very long way to go before we get anywhere even remotely close to privatisation.
To be clear, I too…