Here we go again, more privatisation of the NHS on the way. This time it’s the Ambulance service, with plans to put the non emergency sector out to tender. This means for example collecting infirm patients from their homes and taking them to hospital for treatment or to see a specialist.
The usual argument is put up of getting value for money. Yes, at least in the first instance, a private company will offer to do the job more cheaply but does this mean value for money? I think not. All drivers and co-drivers currently doing the job are trained ambulance people with experience and a huge fund of knowledge to draw upon from their colleagues in case of a problem. Let’s not forget that a lot of the people requiring this service have complicated medical problems even though they can live at home.
Ambulance drivers and paramedics are an integral part of the NHS, a service which up until recently at least, existed purely for the benefit of society as a whole and not for the benefit of the shareholders of private companies. Privatising (= selling off) this important part of the ambulance service puts at risk the comradeship and shared knowledge of the teams and destroy the sense of purpose and caring that currently exists. Some things you just can’t value in monetary terms.