The union Unite has launched a campaign against the government’s white paper, which it says has no “democratic mandate” and represent the most significant move yet towards privatisation.  

The announcement of the campaign coincides with the union’s publication of its submission to the white paper consultation.

In its response, Unite said GP consortia putting provider contracts out to tender would lead to an increase in private companies applying to run them and that the complex nature of contracting itself would lead GP consortia to use private companies to perform this role as well.

It also highlighted the continued encouragement of social enterprise schemes as a further move towards the disintegration of the NHS.

Additionally, the union claims the creation of the NHS Commissioning Board is a “contracting out” of the responsibility of the NHS by the government. It is an attempt by ministers to be at “arms length” when the quality and range of health services decreases because of the implementation of their proposals, says Unite.

Unite national officer for health Karen Reay said: “If you join up the dots in the white paper, the menu on offer is unpalatable – rapid privatisation, lack of proper public consultation, a reduction in services as the contract culture starts to bite, and poorer employment conditions for hard-working NHS staff.”

The “Unite 4 Our NHS” campaign was launched with an email calling for health sector members to put their names on a map highlighting support for the NHS and to provide the union with information on the real impact of the £20bn efficiency savings.