NHS Commissioning Board

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 1:15 pm on 5th March 2013.

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Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Minister of State, Department of Health 1:15 pm, 5th March 2013

I sense that the right hon. Gentleman’s speech was written before he heard what I had to say. If he had listened to it, he would know that we recognise concerns about the drafting and whether it absolutely meets the commitments already made. We want to be certain that the commitments made in this place during the passage of the Bill are met. Indeed, when the Secretary of State wrote to clinical commissioning groups in 2012, he made it absolutely clear that those groups would not be forced to go out to tender. We will make sure that that is met. [Interruption.] If Opposition Members had simply listened to what I said, they would have avoided coming up with a set of questions that completely ignored my points.

The right hon. Gentleman referred to the question of quality of care. From my point of view, poor care should be condemned wherever it happens, and he needs to remember that the scandal of Mid Staffordshire hospital happened under his and his party’s watch. The poor quality of care uncovered in that NHS hospital is completely unacceptable—just as unacceptable as poor quality care from any private provider at all. Let us be clear about that.

There will be no privatisation of the NHS under this Government. Furthermore, there will be no special favours for the private sector, which were provided under the right hon. Gentleman’s Government. It was his Government who gave £250 million to private providers of independent sector treatment centres—whether or not they delivered care. There will be no special favours under this Government’s new rules. No clinical commissioning group will be forced into competitive tender. The rules will be absolutely clear, and we shall publish the amended regulations shortly.