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'Shock' As Global Arms Manufacturer Jockeys to Get Piece of UK's Privatized Health System

As British government privatizes the National Health Service, Lockheed Martin is among several companies showing interest in a deal

PAC-3 missiles produced by Lockheed Martin. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

PAC-3 missiles produced by Lockheed Martin. (Photo: Lockheed Martin)

As one of the largest arms manufacturers in the world, Lockheed Martin has made billions off wars waged by governments from the United States to Colombia. Now the company appears to be maneuvering to profit from the British public's need for health care as the English government moves to privatize and outsource what's left of its National Health Service.

At stake is a lucrative NHS England contract to operate support services—from maintaining medical records to administering prescription payments—for primary care providers. The deal has a value of £1 billion (more than US$1.5 billion) over the course of ten years, making it NHS England's sweetest yet, Health Service Journal reports.

NHS England, which is one of four publicly-funded health systems that together comprise the National Health Service of the United Kingdom, moved to outsource the services last year. The move is part of the rapid privatization of the country's health system, which was accelerated by legislation passed in 2012.

In recent weeks, NHS England held a meeting with private companies interested in the deal, according to HSJ. While not a single NHS entity attended to bid, Lockheed was one of several multinational companies that showed interest.

London-based Doctor Louise Irvine told The Independent that it is "shocking" that a weapons company could profit from funds "taken from front line care."

Lockheed isn't the only multinational among the potential bidders that makes money from state violence. Private Security Company G4S—which is implicated in torture and unlawful incarceration of Palestinians, as well as human rights abuses in Britain and South Africa—also reportedly participated in the meeting.

According to NHS England, between three or four bidders will negotiate for the contract, which will be awarded in March.

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