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Foundation Trusts Concern told the government last week (24 June 2003) that the proposals in the bill on foundation trusts “have not been tried or tested”. The group argued: “the very least [Health Secretary John Reid] could do is initiate a trial or pilot in a local area to see what the impact will be on patient care in the trust and surrounding areas.”
While the group – which includes the public sector union Unison, the GMB, and health sector groups such as the NHS Support Federation, Society of Radiographers, NHS Consultants Association and the Democratic Health Network – is not ideologically opposed to foundations trusts hospitals, it believes the current bill as drafted by the Department of Health contains “serious, significant flaws”.
The alliance claims that foundation trusts will lead to increased competition in the NHS as part of a commercial market, in which ‘the measure of success is how well hospitals compete against each other for patients’.
Foundation Trusts Concern also argues that government proposals will not improve accountability, since foundation trusts will define their own constituencies, trust members will be self-selecting, and trusts will be accountable to an independent regulator rather than the government.
Critics on the Labour backbenches and within the NHS had hoped that the government’s position would be tempered with the appointment of John Reid MP as health secretary, following the resignation of Alan Milburn MP.
But John Reid told the NHS Confederation annual conference in Glasgow last Friday that he would “maintain the direction on which we are already embarked”.
Karen Jennings, head of health at Unison, criticised the new health secretary’s support of foundation hospitals: ‘to say that patient health care will be provided more equally through market-style reforms is a contradiction.”
Jennings pointed out that a previous Labour NHS white paper dismantled the internal market introduced under the Conservatives because it was seen to create an unequal service.
Grace Blakeley investigates the curious case of Carillion: how the company’s slow decline and abrupt liquidation reveals the nature of modern capitalism.
The collapse of Carillion could be a watershed moment. Let's seize it to end economically disastrous outsourcing schemes. By Cat Hobbs.
Campaign groups highlight UK complicity in Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses.
Three founders of Momentum talk to Ashish Ghadiali about the two years that have transformed their lives and the fortunes of the British left.
Andrew Smith from Campaign Against the Arms Trade gives the run-down on one of the UK's most profitable - and most deadly - industries.
The real story behind the fire in Grande Synthe’s Linière refugee camp, Dunkirk. From 'Bordered Lives – How Europe fails refugees and migrants' by Hsiao-Hung Pai
Javier Pérez De La Cruz writes about the working class Berlin neighbourhood wrung dry by gentrifiers.
Across the world, thousands of protesters are taking on the planet’s biggest fossil fuel companies. We should support them – and if we can, we should join them. By Kara Moses
Students are suffering the effects of financial instability, stress, and slashed mental health services. Mark Crawford reports.
They're not defending free speech - they're just seeking to shore up their own power, writes Ilyas Nagdee
Jeremy Hunt is poised to flog the last of the NHS
Peter Roderick sounds the alarm on an 'attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS'.
Viva Siva, 1923-2018
A. Sivanandan, who died this week, was a hugely important figure in the politics of race and class. As part of our tributes, Red Pepper is republishing this 2009 profile of him by Arun Kundnani
Sivanandan: When memory forgets a giant
Daniel Renwick calls for the whole movement to discover and remember the vital work of A. Sivanandan, who died this week
A master-work of graphic satire
American Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley’s comic commentary on America, the US Jewish diaspora and Israel is nothing if not near the knuckle, Richard Kuper writes
Meet the frontline activists facing down the global mining industry
Activists are defending land, life and water from the global mining industry. Tatiana Garavito, Sebastian Ordoñez and Hannibal Rhoades investigate.
Transition or succession? Zimbabwe’s future looks uncertain
The fall of Mugabe doesn't necessarily spell freedom for the people of Zimbabwe, writes Farai Maguwu
Don’t let Corbyn’s opponents sneak onto the Labour NEC
Labour’s powerful governing body is being targeted by forces that still want to strangle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, writes Alex Nunns