asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received from the Salford district health authority about the effect of privatisation on the health authority's under-funding; and if he will make it his policy not to pressure one authority to privatise its support services.
We expect all health authorities to carry out fully our policy of putting out to competitive tender their domestic, catering and laundry services. The work will then be done by whoever can provide the high standard of service required most economically, whether it is the in-house service or a contractor. In many authorities this is already achieving worthwhile savings which are retained by the health authorities to improve their services to patients. Salford health authority is not under-funded, but I have no doubt it could find worthwhile ways of spending savings from its support services on improvements in patient care.