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Scrap the purchaser-provider split, MPs urge


11 March 2016

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In order to save the NHS for future generations, the purchaser-provider split should be abolished, MPs argued in a House of Commons debate today.

In order to save the NHS for future generations, the purchaser-provider split should be abolished, MPs argued in a House of Commons debate today.

At the second reading of the NHS Bill, Caroline Lucas MP – who brought the Bill – said: “The NHS is under threat as never before. Under threat from underfunding dressed up as efficiency savings, under threat from cuts, under threat from the wasteful bidding of the internal market, under threat from creeping commercialisation, and steep increases in corporate sector contracts since the 2012 Health and Social Care Act.

“It is time once and for all to put an end to the purchaser-provider spilt. This spilt is the harmful cornerstone of the commercialisation of our health service, and the open door that lets the health corporations in to pick off the most profitable NHS contracts.”

This comes after yesterday, when the independent charity the Nuffield Trust said that the Bill would do more harm than good, and the NHS “doesn’t need more reorganisation.”

However, Philippa Whitford, a member of the Health Select Committee was quick to address critics concerns during the debate.

“The NHS is being re-organised on a daily, weekly and monthly basis,” she said. “Every time a service is outsourced it is completely reorganised by being taken over, peoples contracts change, and the services shape the change… In Scotland we reversed the purchaser-provider split in 2014 and it was relatively painless, it is simply a decision to not outsource further and to gradually move back to geographical health planning instead of this fragmentation of CCGs at a time when we need integration.”

There was mass support for the Bill in the House, with concerns raised that some private providers are cherry picking services, and the material harm of putting competition over cooperation and having NHS bodies bidding against each other.

Lucas added that, according to the most recent statistics in 2013/14, the NHS paid £6.6 billion to private healthcare firms, and it is now believed to be around £10 billion annually.

She said “It is absolutely criminal that the money that the NHS needs is going to private providers.

“Some will argue that the NHS can’t face yet more reorganisation… but the alternative, to carry on down the route we are going down is absolutely impossible,” she warned.

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