To ask the Secretary of State for Health
(1) what advice he has received regarding what changes to existing legislation would be needed to extend the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to cover private healthcare providers;
(2) what recent discussions he has had with private healthcare providers on extending Freedom of Information Act 2000 provision to cover private companies providing services to NHS patients.
The Government recognises the importance of maintaining transparency in relation to outsourced public services. Requirements in relation to freedom of information requests are included in the national health service standard contract for all providers of NHS services. A high level group, chaired by Monitor, which is considering the implementation of the Fair Playing Field review will continue to consider the operation of existing transparency, requirements.
The Government does not currently intend to extend the Freedom of Information Act to private healthcare providers. There have been no recent discussions about this with private providers of NHS services.
Guidance will be provided in a revised Code of Practice to be issued under section 45 of the Act to promote openness by all contractors providing public services, including through the use and enforcement of contractual transparency provisions.