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Volume 476: debated on Thursday 22 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the role the independent sector is likely to have in the provision of polyclinics. (207077)

We have asked primary care trusts to undertake open and fair tendering processes to secure new general practitioner (GP)-led health centres and new GP practices in underserved areas. These services will be in addition to existing GP practices. A range of contractors will put forward tenders to be considered by each primary care trust (PCT) and the mix between independent commercial sector, independent voluntary sector, national health service bodies and independent GP contractors will vary locally. Our overriding objective is for PCTs to secure additional access and extra choice to primary medical services delivered by providers that offer the best quality and value for money to ensure patients' access to services are improved and the population's overall health improves.