08:27 Wednesday 15th January 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
[P]AUL STAINTON: New figures obtained by the BBC show that since April last year more than 70% of all contracts for NHS services in England have been awarded to private companies. Reforms to the health service mean that any qualified provider can compete to provide clinical NHS services. Campaigners say though, care is being transferred away from the NHS into the hands of commercially driven providers. .. Since April last year, more than £5 billion worth of contracts have been advertised. They include diagnostic services like scans and blood tests, mental health and GP services. Paul Evans is the Director of the pressure group The NHS Support Federation. He says the big question is whether all this is actually better for the patient.
PAUL EVANS: We’ve already seen from those contracts where GP out-of-hours contracts have been organised by private providers, that they haven’t put enough staff in place. And that’s caused tragic consequences for some patients.
PAUL STAINTON: Well this is particularly relevant in Cambridgeshire of course. Five organisations have thrown their hats into the ring for a billion pound contract to run health care for the elderly in the county, the largest outsourcing contract in NHS history, and we await with bated breath to see who wins that.