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The National Health Service

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:21 pm on 23rd October 2019.

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Photo of Philippa Whitford Philippa Whitford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health and Social Care) 3:21 pm, 23rd October 2019

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that point. Of course, Governments can borrow at a much lower interest rate than any private business. Money is being sucked out of the NHS through the PFI across the UK, but there are also other ways in which money is being sucked out of the NHS, particularly NHS England—for example, through outsourcing under the Health and Social Care Act 2012. Private companies have to make a profit. Their chief executive is bound to make profit for the shareholders. They are not bound to deliver quality of care. We have seen clinical commissioning groups get trapped in this way. Six commissioning groups in Surrey tried to bring community care back into the NHS—they were not breaking a contract—but Virgin did what Virgin always does if it does not get a franchise renewed. It sued the CCGs. It is all hidden behind a commercial veil, but we know that at least one of those commissioning groups paid over £300,000 to settle out of court, and six groups together means that the figure was likely to be well over £2 million.