As the contracting-out of cleaning services within the NHS has shown, the profit motive means cutting corners. This could mean absolute chaos in the delivery of essential equipment.
Hundreds of workers in NHS Logistics - who belong to the Unison union - are already being balloted for strikes after it became known that ministers were considering outsourcing the contract.
Karen Jennings, the union's head of health, said: "This is a very sad day for the NHS. The Government has not listened to the workforce or to reason. Staff across the NHS will be watching this privatisation deal, which will be viewed by many as symbolic of what is to come."
Unison said it made "no sense" to break up NHS Logistics. The result of the ballot is due to be announced next week.