Labour attacks Health Secretary after it is revealed £127m in NHS private contracts are out for tender
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been accused of ditching a pledge to halt privatisation in the NHS after it emerged more than £100 million-worth of health contracts are currently out to tender.
Figures uncovered by Labour revealed that the largest contract, to run an NHS 111/ Clinical Assessment Service for five years in Kent, Medway and Sussex, is estimated to be worth £91 million on its own.
According to analysis by the House of Commons library, 19 new contracts worth £36 million have been put out to tender since mid-February.
Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth, accused Mr Hancock of concentrating on the upcoming Tory leadership contest rather than running the NHS.
He said: “A few weeks ago the Health Secretary told MPs there would be no privatisation on his watch and yet we’ve seen cancer PET-CT scanning services in Oxford privatised, and today we’re revealing another £36 million worth of contracts put out to tender in the last few weeks.”
“Rather than focusing on his own personal manoeuvrings for the Tory leadership, Mr Hancock should be true to his word and now block these latest NHS privatisation proposals.”
Speaking to the Health Select Committee in January, Mr Hancock said: “There is no privatisation of the NHS on my watch, and the integrated care contracts will go to public sector bodies to deliver the NHS in public hands.”
According to the Department of Health and Social Care Annual reports, the total spent on private sector providers has more than doubled in the last decade, from £4.1 billion in 2009/10 to £8.8 billion in 2017/18.
The contracts have been issued under Section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, which allows the National Health Service Commissioning Board and CCGs to procure deals with private sector providers.