Intended for healthcare professionals


Return to the true path?

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 22 November 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:1066
  1. Nicholas Timmins, public policy editor, Financial Times

    Nicholas Timmins considers whether the government's decision to cut back its planned use of the private sector in the NHS is pragmatic or ideological

    Happy trade unions, a fuming private sector, bewildered taxpayers, patients who are still waiting, and—almost certainly—an inquiry by the National Audit Office.

    That was the outcome of health secretary Alan Johnson's announcement last week that only three more schemes are definitely going ahead from the second wave of contracts for diagnostic services and new independent sector treatment centres in England.

    Mr Johnson's written statement dealt merely with the 16 contracts still extant from a negotiation that has been going on for three years now. Six other schemes were cancelled. Seven remain under procurement—although the health department says that there is “no guarantee” they will go ahead, despite giving private assurances to …

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