Labour reveals £250m NHS contracts out to tender
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has told the Labour Party Confernece that 398 community NHS services in England worth more than £250m are currently out to tender to private bidders.
Mr Burnham used his speech inManchesterto pledge that a Labour government would save the NHS without further structural re-organisation.
He said a Labour government would “repeal Cameron’s market”, while revealing he never had any objection to involving doctors in commissioning.
“It’s the creation of a full-blown market I can’t accept,” he said.
“So I don’t need organisations. I will simply ask those I inherit to work differently. Not hospital against hospital, or doctor against doctor. But working together, putting patients before profits.”
Mr Burnham told the conference that there were 37 private bidders in the current process – including friends of PM David Cameron.
He added: “Not the choice of GPs, who we were told would be in control. But a forced privatisation ordered from the top. And a secret privatisation – details hidden under “commercial confidentiality” – but exposed today in Labour’s NHS Check.
“From this week, hospitals can earn up to half their income from treating private patients. Already, plans emerging for a massive expansion in private work, meaning longer waits for NHS patients.’
During his speech, Mr Burnham also suggested that his party will change secondary care funding to financially reward hospitals for keeping people out of hospitals.
He said: “Our hospitals are simply not geared to meet people’s social or mental care needs. They can take too much of a production-line approach, seeing the isolated problem – the stroke, the broken hip – but not the whole person behind it.
“And the sadness is they are paid by how many older people they admit, not by how many they keep out. If we don’t change that, we won’t deliver the care people need in an era when there’s less money around. It’s not about new money. We can get better results for people if we think of one budget, one system caring for the whole person – with councils and the NHS working closely together. All options must be considered – including full integration of health and social care.”