DoH to review private firm NHS involvement

The DoH is to review the role of the competition panel set up to maximise opportunities for the private sector to break into the healthcare market, according to Unison.

Andy Burnham
Andy Burnham

Representatives of the NHS Together unions, which include the BMA and RCN, discussed NHS privatisation plans with the DoH's new ministerial team led by health secretary Andy Burnham.

Unison says that Mr Burnham agreed to review previous DoH guidelines which favoured the private sector's involvement in the NHS.

These include the new competition panel, the new commercial operating model for the NHS which will see an extra £20 million spent on maximising the involvement of private firms and the Transforming Community Services programme designed to maximise the roles of social enterprises and firms.

A DoH spokesperson said: ‘This was a  productive meeting and we look forward to continuing to work with the NHS  Together unions.'

Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of BMA Council, said: 'The BMA is pleased that the health secretary has confirmed that the NHS should be the preferred provider of NHS services.

'However, we still hear almost daily reports of commercial firms tendering for NHS contracts and remain acutely concerned that the apparent obsession with the market in healthcare is leading to duplication, fragmentation and inefficient provision of NHS services. The BMA will continue to work closely with the other health unions, through NHS Together, to protect the fundamental qualities of the NHS and to ensure a high-quality, cost-effective service for our patients in these difficult financial circumstances.'

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