Learn from Longreach – keep private profit out of public NHS

Posted on: 13th August 2014

West Cornwall MP, and Member of the House of Commons Health Select Committee, Andrew George, has warned of “the dire consequences of NHS privatisation” in response to Redruth’s Longreach Mental Health Unit not being expected to reopen until at least November. The mental health unit was closed in May after it was found there was no fireproofing in its roof space. The reduction in beds means 44 patients are currently being treated outside of Cornwall.

Mr George said: “Here we have yet another example of where the profit motive of private companies conflicts with the patient interests in the NHS.

“Longreach was developed under a private finance initiative supported by the then Labour Government in 2003. The prolonged closure is but further evidence that we should never put profit before patient interests.

“I will urge Government Ministers to learn from this kind of case, so that we never again engage in the expensive folly of PFI projects for core public services.

“Meanwhile, many severely mentally ill will be forced to travel hundreds of miles away from their family and friends who would otherwise be able to visit them if they had been offered an inpatient bed at Longreach.”