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National Health Service (Tendering)

Volume 77: debated on Monday 15 April 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what rules are applied relating to capital costs and depreciation in determining the award of tenders for laundry, catering and other ancillary services in the National HealthService.

We issued specimen contracts for laundry services to health authorities in March 1984 and this included advice on the treatment of capital expenditure at annex 4 of the guidance notes. This guidance is also applicable when tendering for catering or any other ancillary service if capital expenditure is involved. A copy of this document was placed in the Library.Health authorities should only contemplate new capital investment in support services if that is really the highest priority call on their capital programme. I would expect most authorities to find that capital investment in some aspect of direct patient services commanded higher priority.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate the savings which would accrue to the National Health Service from commercial tendering for linen and other clothing and equipment services.

It is not possible to estimate the savings which might accrue nationally from commercial tendering for these services, but I expect every health authority to follow our guidance that linen rental services and similar arrangements should be considered as options for cost saving in support services.