NHS (Private Sector)

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 8:03 pm on 16th January 2012.

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Photo of Andrew Lansley Andrew Lansley The Secretary of State for Health 8:03 pm, 16th January 2012

What the hon. Lady describes is precisely what has happened time and again under the legislation we inherited, which is not transparent. Primary care trusts were not accountable or transparent and an enormous amount of activity on tenders went on with tenders that involved the private sector and was not conducted in the way that we want, which is on the basis of a tariff and on the basis of which provider is best able to deliver the highest quality.

Let me deal with the first of the myths propagated by the right hon. Member for Leigh: that we have some kind of privatisation agenda. We do not. As I recollect, the only time any Government had a specific objective to increase the role of the private sector in the NHS was when he was a Minister, his hon. Friend Liz Kendall was a special adviser to the Department for Health and Patricia Hewitt was Secretary of State. That was when they were going out and saying they wanted to increase the role of the private sector to 10% or 15%, and the Health and Social Care Bill contains specific provision not to allow such discrimination in favour of private providers in future.