The number of private sector contracts in the NHS has ‘not increased overall’ since the last election, former health secretary Andrew Lansley has claimed.
The news comes as the first CCGs have begun putting local enhanced services out to tender through the ‘any qualified provider’ route, with GP leaders warning this could mean that practices will be ‘unable to compete for services they have always provided’.
Mr Lansley, who took on the role as leader of the House of Commons after being ousted as health secretary when Jeremy Hunt was appointed last year, made the statement in a response to a written question by a Labour MP who had questioned political donations made by private health companies in Parliament.
In response to Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams’ question, Mr Lansley said that all contracts were administered ‘independently and fairly’ and that private provision was not rising in the NHS.
He said: ‘The number of private sector contracts in the NHS has not increased overall since the election.’
From April, under new competition regulations, services will have to be put out to tender – unless commissioners can prove that they can only be provided by a single provider – in a bid to protect patient choice, although critics have questioned whether AQP may decrease choice for patients if GP practices are unable to compete effectively in large-scale tendering processes.