A costly procurement process for community health and social care in Bath & N.E. Somerset is currently under way, because all health contracts must now be put out to competitive tender. At the moment, these services are provided by Sirona, which is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company. The procurement process is in its final stages prior to the award of a new seven-year, £70 million per annum contract. Apart from Sirona, the only other organisation now shortlisted for this contract is Virgin Care Ltd. Virgin Care Ltd pays no corporation tax in the UK and should therefore not profit from the UK taxpayer. It is part of a group whose ultimate parent company is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is a tax haven. Virgin Care does not currently record a profit in the UK after administrative expenses, but the company’s structure makes it unlikely to pay any tax in the UK in the foreseeable future(ref.1 below) Despite this, since entering the health market in 2010 Virgin Care has been awarded contracts worth over £1 billion, with several large contracts in community health. (ref. 2) If this contract is awarded to Virgin, it will contribute to the rapidly advancing privatisation of the NHS. A report two years ago by an international panel of experts working for the Commonwealth Fund declared the NHS to be the best healthcare system and rated its care superior to that of countries that spend far more on health. The Commonwealth Fund, a Washington-based foundation, is respected around the world for its analysis of the performance of different countries’ health systems.(ref.3) The NHS should remain a publicly provided, publicly funded health service for the benefit of all UK citizens, not for the benefit of those who wish to make a profit. My partner has had an excellent service from Sirona since being diagnosed last year with Parkinson's Disease . We fear that this provision will be greatly reduced if Virgin are awarded the contract and make cuts in order to provide profits. 1. http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/mar/21/ow-lucrative--deals-go-to-firms-that-use-tax-havens 2. http://www.nhsforsale.info/private-providers/private-provider-profiles-2/virgin.html 3. http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/17/nhs-health
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  • TTIP-threatens Bath's local public services & democracy
    Please sign our petition calling on Bath and North East Somerset Council to debate TTIP. (For residents of Bath and North East Somerset only. We need 1000 residents to sign in order to trigger a council debate). TTIP will not only effect our NHS and democracy on a national level but will have significant implications for local public services, including: - making it possible for corporations to buy up local government services. - the possibility of extra-judicial trade tribunals being held to challenge measures by Bath and North East Somerset Council designed to promote local employment, foster environmental protection or protect public health. Such rulings would be made by trade lawyers, not judges, and, once passed, would be unchallengeable. Bath and North East Somerset needs to defend basic public services for solidarity and social redistribution by standing against this troubling trade agreement. More information on TTIP: Report by War on Want: http://rosalux.gr/sites/default/files/publications/ttip_web.pdf 38 Degrees TTIP page: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/pages/ttip_more_information
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