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

Interestingly, under the so-called extended choice network that the Labour Government introduced, the number of elective operations conducted in the private sector went from, I think, 16,000 in 2005-06 to 208,000 in 2009-10—an enormous increase. From the right hon. Gentleman’s point of view, it was marginal capacity that did not really matter, but the point is that patients said that they thought it provided good quality care. In a Care Quality Commission survey, some 96% of NHS patients using independent facilities said that the elective surgery they received was “excellent” or “very good”. The figure for NHS facilities was 79%. On the NHS Choices website, nine of the top 20 highest-rated NHS-funded providers were run by the independent sector; there were no independent-sector hospitals in the bottom 20. The general proposition is that the private sector is worse in the NHS, but there is no evidence to support that.

The right hon. Gentleman will recall that the Royal College of Surgeons conducted a study of the quality of care, and its general conclusion was that the quality of clinical care offered to NHS patients by private sector providers was as good as the care offered by the NHS. So what is his point? He used the private sector, patients used the private sector and patients were happy. What is his point?