A primary care trust chair has resigned in protest at the increasing role of the private sector in the NHS. Rochdale PCT chair Debbie Abrahams spoke to HSJ after her announcement at a public demonstration in Manchester.

A primary care trust chair has resigned in protest at the increasing role of the private sector in the NHS. Rochdale PCT chair Debbie Abrahams spoke to HSJ after her announcement at a public demonstration in Manchester.

Ms Abrahams said: 'The NHS will be a very different animal if we continue to increase the amount of private sector provision. Ultimately, the private sector is in it to make money.'

She added that when an independent treatment centre opened in Manchester, 'we were told what the levels of activity were and what investment we should make whether we needed it or not'.

The strategic health authority negotiated the contract for the Greater Manchester Surgical

Centre without involving the PCT, she said, and instructed the board to agree to the use of the centre 'without having seen the contract documents'.

As a result, the PCT got a£2m bill for capacity it did not use in the first six months of operations.

Ms Abrahams appealed to health secretary Patricia Hewitt for an independent evaluation of the impact of the private sector on local NHS services, but this was rejected. The 'final straw' was when her attempts to assess the impact of the surgical centre were blocked.

The PCT is due to be merged with neighbouring Heywood and Middleton PCT to form a borough-wide organisation in October.