To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give the date on which he intends to announce any details arrived at between Bioplan Ltd. and district health authorities; if he has any knowledge of district health authorities, apart from Oxford and Salford, who have been negotiating with Bioplan Ltd.; and if he will make a statement.
Collaboration between health authorities and private providers helps make the maximum use of health care skills and resources. It is for health authorities to explore and if they so decide, enter into collaborative arrangements with companies such as Bioplan. We are not aware of any discussions between Bioplan and English authorities other than Salford and Oxford; these would in any case be local management matters. However we welcome innovative projects which provide cost-effective ways of improving health care.