Labour calls for freeze on NHS contracts with the private sector until after general election

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 30 July 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g4905
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

The Labour Party has called for a moratorium on new contracts between the NHS and the private sector until after the 2015 general election, to halt what it has described as the “forced privatisation of the NHS.”

During a speech in Manchester on 29 July Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, urged NHS England to delay signing new NHS contracts for clinical services with the private sector until after the election. Last month it was confirmed that annual NHS spending on private sector and other providers had exceeded £10bn (€12.6bn; $17bn) for the first time.

Burnham said that voters had never given consent for the far reaching and forced privatisation of clinical services, and he highlighted three commissioning exercises that he said raised particular concerns. These were: two contracts with a combined value of £1.2bn to provide cancer care in Staffordshire for 10 years1; a five year contract worth £800m for the care of elderly …

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