NHS (Private Sector)

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 7:17 pm on 16th January 2012.

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Photo of Andy Burnham Andy Burnham Shadow Secretary of State for Health 7:17 pm, 16th January 2012

I remind the Health Secretary that he is the Secretary of State, not me. It is for him to bring forward proposals. Forty-nine per cent: in that proposal he is saying that NHS hospitals can give equal priority to the treatment of private patients—that it can be as legitimate an objective for an NHS facility, paid for by the taxpayers, to be used equally for the treatment of private and NHS patients. I put it to Chris Skidmore that I am not prepared to accept a cap on that scale. It could lead to an explosion of private sector work in NHS facilities and I do not think that is in the best interests of NHS patients. I would be prepared to accept the Government’s bringing forward proposals that fulfilled a modest loosening of the cap, to give the NHS more freedom at this difficult time, but I am talking in single figures. I am not talking about a doubt-digit, 50% cap—a recommendation that hospitals devote half their resources to private patients.