Royal College of Nursing (RCN) leader has revealed fears for commissioners tasked with negotiating contracts with private companies, believing they will be "taken to the cleaners".
In his keynote address to the RCN Congress yesterday (14 May), RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary Dr Peter Carter said the government has put "huge amounts of faith" in alternative providers and what they think they can do for the NHS.
Citing the collapse of care home provider Southern Cross, Dr Carter warned the government cannot assume alternative providers can pick up the pieces.
"The government appear to be labouring under an illusion, they seem to think alternative providers are some barometer for success," he said.
"Frankly, I would be very concerned for commissioners tasked with negotiating contracts with companies such as Virgin Care – they will be taken to the cleaners."
Dr Carter also predicted the NHS will need another reorganisation within the next few years in order to "clear up the confusion of the last one".
"The [Health Act] is a mess," he said.
"I believe these reforms are high risk and pose the most serious challenge to the NHS in its 63-year history, making clinicians lives harder and patient experience worse."