DoH scraps private sector team

A board set up by the DoH to advise it on buying from the private sector has been scrapped.

One anonymous member said the board had become a 'waste of time', according to the Financial Times.

Sir William Wells, chairman of the commercial advisory board, said that ministers no longer came to hear its recommendations and it no longer served a useful purpose. The board was set up in 2003 to advise the DoH on negotiating contracts for treatment centres and a range of other NHS diagnostic services from the private sector.

Amid uncertainty about the private sector's involvement in the NHS, BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said: 'The body that has been established to help promote private provision has disbanded itself. We have said that in areas with proven need, and where the system can't or won't meet that need, we are prepared to look at private provision. Unfortunately, the evidence for private sector provision does have a question over its cost-effectiveness.'

A DoH spokesman said: 'The secretary of state recently con-firmed that there are no plans for further centrally-led programmes, and that we will move to greater local determination, with PCTs taking procurement decisions on behalf of their patients. The DoH has agreed the time right for it to be dissolved.'

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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