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Volume 506: debated on Monday 22 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on the NHS as the preferred provider of health services. (316313)

The policy on national health service as preferred provider is about getting the best care for patients and looking after the NHS staff who care for them. It represents a clarification of Government policy to ensure that where services provided within the public sector are performing well, are financially sustainable and also demonstrating the ability to keep improving there should be no presumption that these services are subject to competitive tender. When competitive tender does occur, it will be transparent and fair with all providers having an equal opportunity to bid, potentially in new partnerships and joint ventures.

The aim is to ensure that NHS staff are treated fairly and engaged in decisions, so that they know what is happening and when, and what changes are being sought and why. Service improvement and re-design should not be something which is imposed on NHS staff but something which they own and lead. Clinical engagement and leadership will be crucial to driving the transformation of services patients and taxpayers need.

The Secretary of State's Vision document “NHS 2010-2015: From Good to Great” and the “NHS Operating Framework 2010/11” outline how we expect the NHS as preferred provider to work in practice. Copies of both documents have already been placed in the Library.