This is a HUGE topic. I’m not going to write a thesis on it or answer millions of questions. However, what I can do is give you my experience of this.
Until the last month, I had NEVER worked as an employee of the NHS. Surprised? You’re not the only one. Over the last 5 years I have received a barrage of abuse for working in the private sector. Not just from the public, ironically, more from NHS employees than anything else. “You’re taking our overtime”, “We don’t need you”, “You’re not as qualified as us”… the list is endless.
So lets address a couple of the main points.
Overtime– Private sector employees do not take anyone’s overtime. There is always overtime available, and it goes unfilled. So, where do you expect the NHS to get its support from? The answer is resilience, and that resilience is the Private Sector.
Whether you agree with the principle of the private sector working in the NHS is up to you, but without the Private Sector, the NHS would collapse within about 20minutes (Completely non evidence based). Sheets being washed, cooking being done, maintenance, equipment, drugs- all of this is supported by the private sector. Take it away, where does all this come from?
The picture at the top of the page is a company I used to work for a few years ago. It is from outside an NHS hospital. There were 8 Ambulances there in total, none of them were from the NHS. So take those Ambulances away, and who looks after patients?
We don’t need you- this is rather based on local pressures, but if you didn’t need the private sector, then you wouldn’t be hiring them. Nobody would spend money they didn’t need to spend.
You’re not as Qualified as us- This one makes me laugh- a lot. There is no doubt, the NHS offers and supplies a good set standard level of education. It is mostly standardised, and varies relatively little around the UK. The private sector is HUGELY varied. Ex Military, Ex NHS, people who work in remote areas, people who work abroad, the list is huge, and the backgrounds very varied. Everyone who works on a Frontline 999 contract is of the same educational standard as their NHS Counterpart. Often in fact, they are actually BETTER qualified than their NHS Counterpart because of their additional skills and much wider exposure in different working environments.
To give you a recent example:
RTC- NHS Manager on scene. NHS manager (Ops) makes decision on clinical treatment. Private Sector Paramedic arrives, disagrees with decision. Manager states “Im operationally more senior than you, so its my call”. There are many many issues with this style of management/thinking, however the main problem with this, is the Private Sector Paramedic they said it to, was a Critical Care Paramedic, ex HEMS paramedic, and very senior medical Instructor on a world-wide Trauma Program. They “outranked” the ops Manager on so many areas that its simply laughable, and needless to say, the NHS Manager lost the argument, but it should never ever have to come to this.
Regardless of what Uniform you wear, what crest is on your shirt or whether you “like” the private sector or not, there is a huge amount of skill and experience out there that can be used. Everyone is working for the same goals and outcomes- the best and safest patient care possible. There is nobody that comes to work, be it NHS or Private Sector who wishes to do anyone harm, upset anyone, or cause animosity. You will always find good and bad in any industry.
I have NEVER treated anyone any differently according to what crest they had on their shirt. I would ask you to do the same.