Press Release Press Release Press Release
1 November, 2000
USING PRIVATE SECTOR BEDS NO LONG TERM SOLUTION,
Health union MSF said today (Wednesday, 1 November) that plans to use private sector beds as a long-term solution to NHS bed shortages were flawed.
MSF Head of Health Roger Kline said today that using private sector beds to tackle immediate winter pressures and waiting list crises might make sense if such arrangements were tightly regulated, but the long-term solution must be an increase in the number of NHS beds.
"Over recent years, the numbers of NHS beds have fallen sharply. PFI schemes have often continued that trend. We welcomed the Government decision, in the wake of the National Beds Inquiry to reverse this trend.
" However, our members - both as NHS staff and as NHS users - can see no reason why the NHS should subsidise the private sector on a permanent basis. At best such arrangements should be used on a short-term basis until the NHS rebuilds the capacity it needs.
We are not even clear at this stage whether the same standards, clinical governance, and employment rights that NHS staff are subjected to will apply in these hospitals and nursing homes. "
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MSF represents 65,000 health service professionals including the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists, laboratory scientific staff, medical technical officers, the College of Health Care Chaplains, the Community Psychiatric Nurses Association, the Medical Practitioners' Union, clinical psychologists, speech therapists, the Hospital Physicists Association and the Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association.
MSF has 400,000 skilled and professional members in a wide range of industries. It is the UK's fifth largest union.