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Private Firms take too many NHS contracts

Private Firms take too many NHS contracts


A third of NHS contracts in England have been offered to private firms since its restructure in 2013.

The information comes from a freedom of information request made by the British Medical Journal.

It showed that 33% of the 3,494 contracts awarded by 182 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England went to the private sector between April 2013 and August 2014.

The investigation looked at the different types of contract providing NHS services. This includes those awarded to a single provider without an open tender, those awarded via a competitive tending process and those awarded to multiple providers from outside the NHS.

Private sector providers were most successful at winning contracts awarded via competitive tender - 80 compared with 59 won by NHS providers.

Responding to an investigation BMA council chair, Dr Mark Porter, said:

“These figures show the extent of creeping privatisation in the NHS since the Health and Social Care Act was introduced. The Government flatly denied the Act would lead to more privatisation, but it has done exactly that.

"Enforcing competition in the NHS has not only led to services being fragmented, making the delivery of high-quality, joined-up care more difficult, but it has also diverted vital funding away from front-line services to costly, complicated tendering processes.

"What's worse is that there isn't even a level playing field as private firms often have an unfair advantage over smaller, less well-resourced competitors, especially those from the NHS and social enterprises. To undo this damage we need an honest and frank debate about how we can put right what has gone wrong without the need for another unnecessary and costly top-down reorganisation.”


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