Privatisation of the NHS has soared by 90% in just four years despite Tory denials.
Private companies were awarded NHS contracts worth £3.6 billion last year alone according to analysis of the health service.
The outsourcing bill is up 20% in the last year alone making a mockery of repeated denials that the National Health Service is being quietly put up “for sale”.
The value of identified outsourcing contracts awarded to private companies almost doubled from £1.9 billion in 2015.
It was up 89% in 2018 which is the most recent full year for which data is available.
Private companies have also been handed NHS outsourcing contracts worth £3.3 billion so far in 2019
The single most valuable contract was won by Sirona Health and Care. The firm, which is constituted as a Community Interest Company, was awarded a £1.09 billion contract to provide adult community health services in areas of the South West for ten years.
Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary, said: “These shocking figures expose the extent to which our NHS is increasingly falling into private hands.
“NHS services should be provided in the public interest, not for private profit.
“Urgent action is needed to end outsourcing in the NHS, and we urge NHS workers and everyone who relies on the service to make that case to their local candidates during the election.”
Hated reforms under former Tory Health Secretary Andrew Lansley opened the NHS to unprecedented privatisation. They even allowed private firms to sue the health service if they were rejected for running certain services.
Virgin Care was widely criticised after it reportedly sued the NHS in 2016 after it failed to secure an £82 million contract to provide children’s health services in Surrey.
Since 2015 the Tories have acknowledged that the 2012 Health and Social Care Act should be reformed or scrapped. They have repeatedly denied privatisation is being stepped up.
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “Matt Hancock said there would be no privatisation on his watch.
“Yet we’ve seen repeated contracts for NHS services being given to private companies, breaking up integrated care, costing the taxpayer and leaving a poor quality service for patients.
“ Labour will bring an end to this profiteering in our NHS and restore our health service to public hands.”
The research was commissioned by GMB from Tussell, a data provider on UK government contracts and spend.
Rehana Azam added: “Outsourcing is bad news for patients and NHS staff.
“Time and time again, we have seen private providers fail to deliver while our members’ terms and conditions and the NHS national agreement have been undermined.
“We are clear that it is safer and in the long-run it is better value for services such as care, patient transfers and facilities management to be brought back in house.”
Previous research has found that the risk of MRSA infection is nearly 50% higher in wards where cleaning services are outsourced.
These figures are for outsourcing not including other forms of privatisation. Tussell looked at contracts for services, not including provision of goods or works.