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Government spend £9.2 billion on private healthcare providers for NHS in 2018-19

Published on 22/07/19 at 09:15am

The Department of Health and Social Care paid £9.2 billion to private providers in the year prior to 31 March 2019, according to their annual report.

The 14% increase comes as health secretary Matt Hancock pledged to reduce the outsourcing of patient care. “There is no privatisation of the NHS on my watch,” Hancock said to MPs and health chiefs in January 2019.

Shadow health and care secretary Jonathan Ashworth commented: “Tory privatisation of our NHS continues to gather pace with public expenditure on independent providers now at a record high. These accounts blow apart Matt Hancock’s claims to parliament there would be no privatisation on his watch.”

Dr John Lister, a health policy academic and secretary of the campaign group Keep Our NHS Public added: “The extra £415m spent on private providers in the last year is a significant 5% increase and makes a nonsense of Matt Hancock’s pledge of ‘no privatisation on my watch’. The full picture is much more alarming with the added prospect of a Johnson government putting the NHS ‘on the table’ in any future US trade negotiations.”

Paul Evans, the director of the NHS Support Federation, said: “In response to criticism, failures and waste, the health secretary promised no further privatisation. But since then the outsourcing of NHS services has rolled on and more services have become reliant on the private sector to deliver their core service.”

A DHSC spokesperson said: “We are committed to a world-class NHS free at the point of use. The proportion of NHS funding going to independent sectors has remained largely stable since 2014-15. The overall funding in the NHS has increased since 2014-15, so while the proportion of spend has not changed, the amount spent has risen in both public and independent sectors.”

“We want patients to receive the best quality of care possible and the vast majority is provided by the NHS, supported by independent organisations when a local doctor decides it is in their patients’ best interests.”

Louis Goss

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