New NHS White Paper – the end of outsourcing?

A leaked version of the new NHS White Paper has confirmed the government’s plan to remove the much criticised competition rules, which allow commercial companies to bid for a vast array of NHS contracts and were a keystone of the Tory health reforms of 2012.

Commenting on the leak, Jeremy Hunt – who was health secretary for much of the time the policy was in place, was shameless in his agreement that scrapping the rules “is the right change” admitting that the policy had caused fragmentation; but the private sector now has a strong foothold in the NHS so what difference will the change make to the scale of NHS outsourcing?

In the short term the answer is not much. Of course it is to be welcomed that the NHS will no longer have to waste time and money on this bureaucratic whirligig, but the reality is that the private sector has already won £20bn in contracts throughout the competition era, according to figures from the NHS Support Federation, and there is no sign of these contracts being transferred back into the NHS.

Full story in The Lowdown, 8 February 2021

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