New BMA report calls for better oversight of privatisation

The British Medical Association (BMA) is warning that more needs to be done to understand the effects of increased private sector provision in the NHS.

The BMA warns that NHS spending on privatised care has been increasing despite its growing deficit and now stands at nearly £7bn a year, or 6.3% of the budget.

Among BMA members, 64% of doctors say they are uncomfortable with private healthcare providers supplying NHS services.

Dr Mark Porter, chair of the BMA, said: “Our new report attempts to wake the government and some commissioners from their selective slumber, and to prompt the questions they should always have been asking on behalf of those who are cared for and who pay for the service — does the private sector provide value for money, and comparable quality and safety to patients, and how does it impact on other services?”

The BMA gives the example of privatised adult dermatology services in Nottingham, which collapsed after Circle Contract won the contract, but only three dermatology providers accepted jobs with them instead of the expected 11.

The BMA recommends that NHS England should collect data on levels of independent sector provision of NHS services and the CQC should develop a more standardised approach to regulating independent sector providers.

It also says that independent sector providers of NHS services should be subject to the same requirements as NHS providers and safeguards should be introduced to protect patients if contracts are terminated early by independent sector providers. Additionally, the BMA says the NHS Standard Contract should include a clause requiring independent sector providers to contribute towards the education and training of the NHS workforce, and CCGs should carry out a full risk assessment during the procurement process for what might happen if NHS staff do not wish to TUPE (transfer of undertakings under present employment) to an independent sector provider.


Roger T   20/04/2016 at 17:32

Get rather tired of NHS employees/managers crying foul on private (let's use an emotional term like the left-wing of politics do) or "privatisation" of health services. I, and many family and friends, have been left wanting from this "world renown NHS" which I have yet to hear anyone outside (here and abroad) the NHS actually proclaim! You go on holiday and all your provisions are by the??? Private Sector. You buy a car, ride a bus or a train built by? The Private Sector! The drugs and equipment used in NHS hospitals are provided by? Yes, think you are getting the gist now, The Private Sector. I agree standards need to be high but when I hear of a man, lives seconds away from local A & E, being made to wait for four hours because he didn't come in a paramedical ambulance (and is now in a bad way as he had a stroke) then I really think the private sector would improve such archaic practises!

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