Partnerships could lead to end of free care

The Institute for Public Policy Research’s report on public
private partnerships failed to ask fundamental questions about the
impact of markets and for-profit operators on public services,
experts claimed last week.

A report by the health policy and health services research unit
at the University College, London, argues that PPPs and private
finance initiatives could lead to greater privatisation and an end
to publicly-funded services free at the point of delivery.

It believes that the influential pro-Labour think-tank, whose
long-awaited report was published last month (News, page 3, 28
June), ignored and played down evidence of the true cost and
efficacy of public private partnerships, and the context in which
they operate.

“Any objective evaluation of the evidence shows that the
extension of PPPs will lead to ever-increasing costs for the public
sector, with consequent cuts in access to, and the quality of,
services provided,” it concludes.

The report was written on behalf of Catalyst, a left-of-centre
think-tank backed by trade union leaders set up in 1998 to promote
policies directed to the redistribution of power, wealth and

It claims that the IPPR failed to scrutinise the operation of
PPP or PFI contracts and incorrectly implied there was a “level
playing field when considering public v private”.

The report’s authors go on to warn that Labour’s NHS Plan and
the Health and Social Care Act 2001 “make ample provision for
redefining social care and introducing charging and greater
privatisation of NHS services”.

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