Growth in number of NHS contracts handed to private firms reported

Medical Government/ NHS related news

New data has shown a rise in the number of NHS contracts handed to private sector providers since the government's reform of the health service last year.

According to information gathered from a Freedom of Information request made by the British Medical Journal, 182 clinical commissioning groups in England have awarded 3,494 contracts between April 2013 and August 2014, with 33 percent going to the private sector.

“One-third of NHS contracts in England have been awarded to private sector providers since the service was reorganised in 2013.“

Moreover, Professor David Oliver, writing for the publication, found annual NHS spending on consultants had doubled from 313 million pounds in 2010 to 640 million pounds in 2014.

The government described the data as misleading, noting that charities, social enterprises and other providers have played a key role in the NHS for years, but the British Medical Association (BMA) said this is evidence of the "creeping privatisation" caused by the Health and Social Care Act.

Dr Mike Porter of the BMA said: "Enforcing competition in the NHS has not only led to services being fragmented, making the delivery of high-quality, joined-up care more difficult, but it has also diverted vital funding away from frontline services to costly, complicated tendering processes."

The Health and Social Care Act was passed in 2012, with many of its key measures coming into effect in 2013. The progress of the legislation was delayed due to controversies and criticism of its radical reforms to the structure of the NHS.

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