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Private sector involvement in the NHS only works if it’s not monopolised

Unnecessary private sector involvement in NHS prompts government critics to clamour for privatization. The NHS is dependent on the private sector and has benefited from it since the Blair/Brown era. The 2012 Health and Social Care Act increased private sector involvement, but stressed the need for a broad provider market that offers a healthy balance of competition and patient choice to improve patient care.

Although this approach is possible, it depends on competition. This is what keeps costs low and service quality high while private companies fight to keep their contracts. However, there is a worrying trend that some parts of the NHS are being monopolized by one or more big providers. This results in lower performance and higher costs.

As part of the NHS’ digitalisation drive, big tech companies have taken a greater role in the NHS over the last few years. They bring with them expertise, talent, and ask for billions of dollars in return. They have an obvious competitive advantage over smaller providers because they employ a lot of lawyers and lobbyists. Palantir is a prime example. They have taken multiple government contracts and were awarded an uncompetitive PS23m NHS contract. They have since retreated from the public eye and are now focusing their efforts on the Federated Data Platform of NHS, which is worth more than PS360m.

protests in the health sector have been heard in response to the opening of the tender. Many claim that Palantir is winning. It is evident that the competition will be short at less than a month. This means that providers who do not have a working knowledge of the NHS or a relationship with senior management will be at an advantage. Palantir’s bid for the contract has been supported by the Prime Minister and the support of some of Westminster’s most influential lobbyists.


It is not a coincidence. In 2021, Palantir documents leaked from their regional head Louis Mosley. He described their strategy to secure NHS contracts as “Buying Our Way in …!”” The master plan was to buy any smaller private companies with existing relationships to the NHS. This would effectively eliminate the principle of private competition, and give them a clear path to victory.

Palantir has seized control of the UK’s healthcare system by freezing out its competitors. These competitors suffer and can’t reinvest in their services to improve. We will see the fallacy in allowing the private sector to monopolize integration of public services when costs rise and quality falls.


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