A coalition to defend #ourNHS

The Pandemic and Privatisation - how to fight back

The pandemic has been a goldmine for private contractors and management consultants. But while the private sector (not least Tory ministers’ chums and donors) celebrate their new-found riches, the fiascos of failed private services have been exposed to millions.

Privatised test and trace systems have become byword for failure, just as poor standards of hospital cleaning epitomised the failures of the first outsourced contracts in the 1980s.

The question is how health unions and campaigners can pool their knowledge and work together to develop the right publicity and information to show the folly and expose the waste and inefficiency of privatisation and outsourcing.

An online conference was called on February 25 by Health Campaigns Together, working in partnership with the health unions UNISON, Unite and GMB, the PDA union, the TUC, Keep Our NHS Public, the NHS Support Federation (NHS For Sale), and The Lowdown. 1,200 people registered for the conference and 450 attended.

Short introductions were made on each of the topics before breaking into workshops to consider and discuss priorities and various lines of argument to reach out to the wider, uninformed public.



  • Privatisation – why it matters: speaker - PAUL EVANS, NHS Support Federation and co-editor The Lowdown
  • Billions wasted on PPE and Track and trace fiasco – speaker PASCALE ROBINSON, We Own It
  • Privatised staff as second class citizens – and the impact on the NHS: - speaker JAMES ANTHONY, Vice President UNISON
  • Privatised staff as second class citizens – and the impact on the NHS: - speaker LOLA McEVOY, GMB
  • Lighthouse (and mega) Labs: bypassing the public sector – speaker IAN EVANS, Chair, Unite Healthcare Sciences National OPC
  • The great consultancy boom from Covid to ICSs – speaker Dr SONIA ADESARA, NHS doctor and Keep Our NHS Public
  • NHS cash to the rescue for private hospitals: - speaker DAVID ROWLAND, Centre for Health in the Public Interest
  • Privatised staff as second class citizens – and the impact on the NHS: - speaker JACALYN WILLIAMS acting national officer, Unite and
  • Learning lessons past & present: developing popular arguments & accessible information – speaker JOHN LISTER, editor Health Campaigns Together & co-editor The Lowdown

  • Shadow Health Secretary JONATHAN ASHWORTH MP responded to the presentations and outlined the opposition view

  • Closing remarks by Mike Forster, National Chair, Health Campaigns Together

This conference is supported by a Campaign Resource Pack including seven Briefing Sheets giving background on the key agenda topics and what we can learn from previous struggles as we fight to keep private hands off our NHS.

The Resource Pack can be downloaded below, or the individual Briefing Sheets can be downloaded individually from our Privatisation page.

More background topics

Click here to link to other resources and information on fighting privatisation
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