I WOULD like to add to two recent correspondents’ concerns over the possible privatisation of part of our publicly-funded Airedale Hospital.

1. The trust board seems content it can hide behind a cloak of commercial confidentiality even though it is using public funding to set-up a company. I hope the Keighley News will join others in challenging this lack of accountability and transparency of the use of our public funds.

2. The trust should identify who of their number are likely to become part of this company and its future relationship with the trust. At present we do not know whether there is or will be a conflict of interest.

3. The year-one costs of £400,000 start-up and £300,000 operating provide no details what they cover and when is the projected break-even figure likely to appear and when/how will it become more ‘efficient’ than the current set up in-house?

4. What protection would there be from a takeover of this company by the likes of another Carillion when any initial protection available under TUPE regulations for staff conditions of service would also disappear?

5. What evidence is there to prove privatisation will generate any savings on existing costs and what in-house alternatives have been evaluated and found wanting? We already have national examples of privatised public services of hospitals, rail services, academy schools and social care providers unable to complete their contracts.

6. This proposal appears to be merely a poorly-worded repetition of trends elsewhere with no local evidence to justify such a move and we should fear what is becoming the start of a privatised American-style standardised form of health care. If we don’t want this, now is the time to make our views known. Can the Keighley News take a lead here?

ALAN WATKINSON Skipton Road Utley