Privatising back offices would only work on a 'great scale'

Using private companies to take over back-office functions would require set-ups on a 'great scale' for it to be economically viable, a private health consultant has warned.

Kingsley Manning, business development director for health at private company Tribal, was giving evidence at the House of Commons’ health committee fourth session on commissioning earlier today.

He said that a private company taking over back office functions would require a number of core costs.

‘You’d have to set up data centres, transactional systems, call centres and so on. It would need to be done on a large scale for it to work,’ he said.

He said that a great deal had been written about how merging back office functions could be instrumental in achieving huge savings for the NHS.

But Mr Manning said running the back office would be a great source of profit.

However, he did not rule out his own company running a back office operation for consortia.

He added that the market opportunity was ‘vastly more’ on the provider side rather than commissioning or management.

‘No one is going to get very rich on it,’ he said.

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