New procurement rules ‘may increase private provision in NHS’, says DH

Posted on November 24, 2009. Filed under: News stories | Tags: , |

Pulse | By Nigel Praities | 24 November 2009

Switching to the NHS being the ‘preferred provider’ may increase private provision in the health service rather than reduce it, says a DH spokesperson.

The claims come after newspaper reports of a backlash from business leaders and politicians against the Government’s decision to issue strict new guidelines to PCTs about the use of private providers.

Health secretary Andy Burnham first revealed in September that under-performing NHS providers would be given ‘at least two chances’ to improve before turning to alternative providers.

Ministers have denied this is a U-turn in policy, but the change has prompted criticism from former minister Alan Milburn and the CBI, according to The Times newspaper today.

A Department of Health spokesperson would not comment on the existence of new guidelines for PCTs, but said where existing NHS services are delivering a good standard of care for patients there was ‘no need to look to the market.‘

‘Where Primary Care Trusts are commissioning new services, then we expect them to engage with a range of potential providers before deciding whether to issue an open tender.

‘These decisions will be made locally and we will not choose to exclude either NHS or private providers on grounds of ideology – quality and what is best for patients must always come first. This could well mean more private provision, not less,’ he added.

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