The NHS Support Federation is calling for an inquiry into the impact of the government’s changes, as they are driving NHS contracts into the market where most are won by the private sector.
The freedom of local commissioners to make the best arrangements for patients is being undermined.
The amount of NHS care being organised through the market has risen significantly a year on from the government’s NHS changes, according to new findings from the NHS Support Federation.
Over the last 12 months, five hundred contracts for clinically related care were advertised by NHS bodies, involving £13.5bn of public funding. This represents more than three times the value of the previous year.
These figures also confirm the trend for private companies to be more successful than the NHS in competitive tenders, winning 70% of contract awards across both of the last 2 years.
The NHS Support Federation has found that the number of NHS clinically related tenders has risen by 30% compared with the year before the government’s competition regulations were introduced.
The findings are based on a study of contract notices, placed in the Official Journal of the European Union by NHS commissioners, between April 2012 and April 2014. The study compares the period after the Health and Social Care Act came into effect with the year before.
The study counted 44 categories of clinical care and treatment, involved in contract notices in 2012, but this expanded significantly in 2013 and now covers 77 types of care and treatment, across all parts of the patient journey.
Paul Evans, the Federation’s director said: ”There is a clear trend emerging. More NHS contracts are being placed into the market, covering a wide range of care and so far the majority are being won by the private sector.
“This is a process of privatisation, which overtime will fundamentally change the NHS. Jeremy Hunt has told Parliament that the NHS privatisation will not happen, but this assurance is practically worthless. One year on, we need an inquiry into exactly how the Health and Social Care Act is changing the nature of our NHS.”
The NHS Support Federation is an independent organisation that works to protect and promote a comprehensive NHS, with equitable access and active public involvement.
Our supporters and affiliated organisations are drawn equally from the health profession and the general public.