Photo: Francis Tyers
Photo: Francis Tyers

Companies are pocketing millions of pounds in profit from the NHS in Norwich, research conducted by the Norwich Labour Party suggests. Official NHS sources and Government statistics indicate that up to £5 million of tax payer money is now leaving the NHS in the form of private profit. That figure equates to 200 new nurses or 43,500 visits to A&E.

In the last year 70% of NHS contracts have been tendered out to private firms in Britain. On average private firms seek to make eight to ten per cent profit from each contract, but it is not uncommon for profits as high as 15% to be made.

In Norwich it is possible that out of the £32.5m community services, over £20 million in public money is being a paid to private health care providers to run community or NHS services.

Clive Lewis, Labour candidate for Norwich South said: “Quite frankly I find the ethos of allowing private corporations to make a profit, at tax-payers expense, out of pain and sickness quite sickening.”

“Those of us who have a vision for a better, fairer, kinder, caring society and world know the NHS is the embodiment of those ideals. It’s one of the reasons the public loves it so and it’s why a Labour Government would reverse the privatisation and break-up of it.”

Simon Wright, MP for Norwich South said: “The last Labour Government welcomed with open arms private investment in the NHS. Our local Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, approved by Labour, was built on Private Finance Initiative costing £43 million every year. In addition, Labour ended up paying the independent sector on average 11% more than NHS prices and allowed private providers to cherry-pick easier cases.”

“Liberal Democrats worked hard during the passage of the Health and Social Care Act to ensure that local Commissioning Groups would not be forced to competitively tender services unless they believe it is in the interest of patients.”

Mr Wright added that the coalition has protected health care spending, despite experts saying that spending on the NHS in real terms is falling. It is also claimed by Labour that there are now 5,500 less nurses working in the NHS than when the coalition entered office.

Earlier this year Simon Wright voted in favour of the controversial clause 119 of the Care Bill, which would enable the Health Secretary to close hospitals without the need to consult with hospital staff or local people.