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Outsourcing deal ‘carries health risk’

HANDING confidential medical records to a privateer could have “irreversible” consequences for patients’ health, health union Unison warned last night.

It was responding to news that the government has awarded a massive £1 billion contract for primary care support services to outsourcing giant Capita.

The contract covers medical records, prescription payments and administrative and financial support to medics.

Unison says the outsourcing could lead to hundreds of job losses and up to one-quarter of the entire NHS England staff being moved into the private sector.

General secretary Dave Prentis said: “Confidential medical records should be handled safely and certainly not given to a profit-making company.

“This move is wrong on so many levels and the consequences for people’s health if something goes wrong could be irreversible.

“This government claims it is not privatising the NHS, but transferring nearly a quarter of the workforce of NHS England to a massive international company puts the lie to that claim.

“It is a disgrace that such a major change in the way the NHS is administered was carried out in secret behind closed doors.”

Earlier this year, Capita was accused of pushing smaller companies out of business after it was awarded a lucrative £250 million contract for training civil servants.

Twelve companies involved in the scheme compained to the Cabinet Office and National Audit Office that the company had become a “runaway commercial monster,” hiring smaller companies’ sub-contractors directly and thus cutting them out of the supply chain.

The firm also took excessive fees and paid invoices late, it was alleged.

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