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One third of contracts go to private providers, spending on management consultants increase and breast tumours not being picked up

Leading the health news headlines on the BBC today is a study from the BMJ that reveals one third of NHS contracts in England have been awarded to private sector providers since April 2013.

The freedom of information request found that, of 3,494 contracts awarded by 182 CCGs in England between April 2013 and August 2014, 33% went to the private sector.

Dr Mark Porter, BMA Council chair, said: ‘These figures show the extent of creeping privatisation in the NHS since the Health and Social Care Act was introduced. The Government flatly denied the Act would lead to more privatisation, but it has done exactly that.’

Staying on private sector involvement in the NHS, the Guardian reports that spending on high cost management consultants has soared to £640m – more than double the £313m spent in 2010.

David Oliver, a former government adviser on care for older people, obtained the figures under freedom of information laws. Vital NHS funds, he said, were being wasted over advice on issues the service should not need.

Finally, the Daily Mail today reports that research has apparently shown that more than 2,000 women with breast cancer are being missed every year by screening.

US research has found that mammograms fail to detect tumours in women with what are termed ‘high density’ breasts – which up to four women in ten have.

The researchers conclude that these women should be made aware their breasts are higher density and offered ultrasound scans, which are more effective at picking up hidden tumours