A new Department of Health review is planning to sell off the NHS Blood and Transplant’s storage and distribution services. Some of its operations are already privately run, including transport, communications and admin.
The Department of Health said: “NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) already outsources some of its support functions. The current review is at the early stages and is overseen by a Steering Group containing representatives from relevant Department policy teams and NHSBT."
The DoH say they want the NHSBT to be more "commercially effective". Government policy is that quangos “will be expected to exploit commercial opportunities and maximise commercial discipline across the sector”.
But Karen Jennings, head of health at Unison, said: “What is this Government thinking of, is nothing safe? The blood service is world class and doesn’t need interfering with. It epitomises how successfully volunteers and the public sector can work together, free from contamination by the profit motive. It is a service people are proud to work in and you cannot put a price on giving blood to save lives.
We know from all the evidence that fragmenting services, outsourcing and contracting out, damages that ethos and more importantly damages the smooth running of the service. How can Cameron and Lansley claim that the NHS is safe in their hands, when they are planning to literally drain its lifeblood?”
Henny Braund, chief executive of the leukaemia transplant charity Anthony Nolan, said “We believe that the public reaction to any privatisation of the service needs to be carefully considered. There is a danger people will be put off from becoming a donor if they think a company is making a profit from their donation.”