Intended for healthcare professionals


Vast majority of NHS services must go out to tender, health minister says

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 26 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1322
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. 1BMJ

The UK government has come under fire after publishing legislation this month that compels the new clinical commissioning groups in England to place the bulk of NHS services on the open market.

The new rules, due to come into effect from 1 April 2013, will require commissioners to allow all qualified providers of services—whether they are NHS, private, or voluntary providers—to bid for NHS contracts under competitive tender, except in certain limited circumstances.

But the UK Labour Party and the new National Health Action Party, which was set up by doctors opposed to the government’s changes to the NHS,1 said that the legislation contradicted previous assurances by Conservative ministers that commissioners would not be forced to open NHS services to the market, and they urged MPs to force a parliamentary debate to try to halt the process.

Proposals to expand competition in …

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