The Government’s position is that the National Health Service is now, and always will be, a public service free at the point of delivery.
The independent sector has been providing care for NHS patients under successive Governments. Local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), alongside NHS England commissioners, with their clinical expertise, are responsible for commissioning high quality care for their populations. We are clear that patients should be able to access the best possible treatments based on quality of care, and not type of provider.
Under the NHS Choice Framework, published by the Department, those choosing where to go for their first appointment as an outpatient have a legal right to choose any provider which provides clinically appropriate care for their condition, and has been appointed by the NHS to provide that service, meaning it has been commissioned by a CCG or NHS England to provide this NHS service. This may be an NHS provider, a voluntary, charity or social enterprise organisation, or an independent sector provider.