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

It is not. The right hon. Gentleman, having been Secretary of State, ought to understand the difference between compulsory competitive tendering and any qualified provider. Under compulsory competitive tendering, it is the primary care trust that gets to choose who provides the service, but under any qualified provider it is patients who get to choose. One example is access to wheelchair services. Voluntary sector organisations, such as Whizz-Kidz, are setting out to provide a better service. From its point of view, that is not competitive tendering. Wherever Whizz-Kidz provides the service, patients in that area—[ Interruption. ] If he wants to have a conversation with other Members, he may by all means do so, but I will sit down.

I answered the right hon. Gentleman’s point and I am afraid that it proceeds from a fundamental misunderstanding of the difference between competitive tendering processes, which have been the stuff of primary care trusts—in the past it was they that decided who should provide services—and giving patients access to choice so that they can drive quality. Unlike competitive tendering, which was generally price-based tendering decided on cost and volume, under any qualified provider it is not about price, but about quality.