NHS and Social Care Commission

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:37 pm on 28th January 2016.

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Photo of Debbie Abrahams Debbie Abrahams Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) 3:37 pm, 28th January 2016

I would not disagree with my right hon. Friend, but to pretend—and that is what it would be—that we could reach that conclusion on a cross-party basis would be an illusion. That does need to happen, but we come from completely different perspectives, and that needs to be considered.

In the first year of the legislation, contracts worth £16.8 billion of public money went out to tender under the Health and Social Care Act, with 40% going to private healthcare companies. We could track that because it was on Supply2Health, a public website that was taken down, which meant we could no longer monitor it. Care UK won 41 contracts worth £110 million; and again, the association of donations to different political parties is on the record. Some £5 million has been wrapped up in funding for competition lawyers. In my constituency in Oldham, my community trust, which also provides our mental health services, has said that the amount of time and money wrapped up in competing for tenders has increased inexorably. That is a distraction, and having a commission, getting away from these central points, would also be a distraction. As I say, we come from different ideological perspectives.