NHS: bigger U-turn needed

Submitted by Matthew on 23 February, 2011 - 9:14

The Government has done a small U-turn on the issue of price competition.

As it currently stands, the Health and Social Care Bill proposes that the NHS tariff should be”only the maximum price that can be paid for that service”. Private providers would compete with the NHS in a cost-cutting race to the bottom.

In a letter to NHS bosses, Chief Executive Sir David Nicholson has said that introducing price competition would be “extremely dangerous” for the NHS. It looks like there will be a rewording of the Bill before the third reading in the House of Commons.

In the North East, Care UK had beaten a local NHS Trust for a contract though the NHS Trust boss reported that the NHS “was judged better than [Care UK] on quality, delivery and risk.” He adds that price was “the only element [Care UK] beat us on.”

Care UK boss John Nash and his wife have made over £100,000 donations to the Tory Party since 2006, including £21,000 to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s private office.

The U-turn on price competition is a small improvement. But the Health and Social Care Bill will still unleash the chaos of market forces, and should be stopped.

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