Government asked to reveal details of £2bn Covid contracts with private health firms

The government has been urged to publish details of up to £2bn in Covid-19 contracts to provide extra capacity during the pandemic awarded to private healthcare companies, including some that have helped fund the Conservative party.

The  NHS has said enlisting independent hospitals helped add 6,500 beds, freeing space to treat Covid-19 patients and allowing elective procedures to continue. But the Good Law Project, which has repeatedly raised concerns about cronyism and opacity in public procurement, said a lack of transparency about the terms of the contracts was concerning.

The government has not published full details about the contracts, while data on how much the NHS has spent on them is also yet to be released.

The first of two groups of contracts, running from March to December 2020, had 26 firms initially enlisted to provide extra capacity, to a value of £1.6bn.

Full story in The Guardian, 5 May 2021

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