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Regional Health Authorities

Volume 130: debated on Monday 28 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what rules or guidance govern the attendance of chairpersons of regional health authorities at party political functions relating to the Health Service.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) whether he has received any proposals that regional health authorities should be encouraged to privatise assets or operational activities, other than land, buildings or equipment; and whether he plans to introduce legislation on this matter;(2) whether any regional health authority has, within the past five years, privatised assets or operational activities valued at more than £1 million, other than land, buildings or equipment; and if he will make a statement.

Every regional health authority has awarded contracts to private contractors for some operational activities where this represents better value than in-house services. NHS management recognises competitive tendering as a valuable management tool in testing the efficiency of its services. The Government have no wish to inhibit such enterprise where it is cost-effective and represents good value for money in the particular local circumstances. We have no plans for legislation on this matter. Information is not centrally available on the number of individual contracts with a value in excess of £1 million which have been negotiated by regional health authorities.