Private health firms given 70% of NHS contracts
Private healthcare companies received almost 70% of NHS clinical contracts last year, according to a highly critical report by the NHS Support Federation.
The group, which monitors private contractors in the NHS, says that the figure represents a significant move towards greater privatisation in the health service.
A total of £3.1 billion worth of NHS services were contracted out to private operators during 2016-17, up from £2.4 billion the year before.
Virgin Care, Richard Branson’s healthcare firm, received the lion’s share of the contracts, being awarded £1 billion worth of tenders. The company now holds over 400 NHS contracts.
Private companies accounted for over two fifths of the £7.2 billion worth of contracts tendered by the NHS last year.
Paul Evans, the director of the NHS Support Federation, said “These figures clearly show that privatisation has strong momentum within the NHS.”
“The doors to private sector involvement in the NHS remain open despite promises to move away from market-based approaches by NHS leaders and politicians. Privateers continue to win huge new NHS contracts.”
Virgin Care defended their role delivering NHS services.
“We have a strong track record of delivering high quality, free NHS services over the last 11 years” a Virgin Care spokesman told the Guardian.
“More than 93% of people rating the services we run would recommend them, while the CQC have said in their recent report we can evidence the improvements we have made to community services.”