A group of Lib Dem MPs spearheaded by John Pugh, Stephen Gilbert and Annette Brooke are writing to the OFT and Monitor accusing the South West Health Consortium who are seeking unilaterally to change health workers terms and conditions of wanting to have their cake and eat it.
Regional Pay is back on the Agenda though Lib Dems are likely tomorrow to vote for a 'holding' amendment in response to Labour's opposition day motion on the subject.
Opposition though is hardening on at least one side of the coalition and in a new twist a group of Lib Dem MPs spearheaded by John Pugh, Stephen Gilbert and Annette Brooke are writing to the OFT and Monitor accusing the South West Health Consortium of running a potentially unlawful cartel.
The NHS is in uncharted waters here and though the Secretary of State is unlikely to rein in the consortium. the level playing field required by the Health and Social Care Act would seem to rule out cartels
Lib Dem MPs in the South West have accused the South West Consortium of Health Trusts who are seeking unilaterally to change health workers terms and conditions of wanting to have their cake and eat it.
They have referred the consortium to the Office of Fair Trading in order that it might investigate possible unlawful cartel behaviour.
"The Consortium is hiding behind the NHS badge while riding roughshod over national NHS pay and conditions. They are claiming rights as autonomous, independent providers but then colluding together as a cartel to fix terms and conditions and their wage costs.
Give they are the major provider of health services in the south west that cannot be fair. If an independent set of providers tried to do the same it would not only be outrageous,it would be illegal.
The consortia cannot pretend to be the NHS when it suits them and independent providers when they it doesn't. We think this cartel has a case to answer which is why we are referring them to the OFT."