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NHS: Independent Sector

Volume 713: debated on Thursday 22 October 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 15 July (WA 232) and the Secretary of State for Health's speech to the King's Fund on 17 September in which he said “the NHS is our preferred provider”, whether it remains their policy that NHS commissioners should commission services from providers who can best meet the needs of their patients and population, regardless of whether they are NHS, voluntary sector or independent sector providers. [HL5572]

The Secretary of State's speech to the King’s Fund on 17 September is consistent with existing commissioning policy. National Health Service commissioners will continue to commission services from providers who can best meet the needs of their patients and population, regardless of whether they are NHS, voluntary sector or independent sector providers. The “NHS as the preferred provider” is about getting the best care for patients and looking after the NHS staff who care for them. This does not represent a change in commissioning policy but signals an improvement in commissioning practice. It is the important job of the commissioner to test whether services provide best value and real quality. Where a provider is not delivering quality, existing providers will be given the opportunity to improve these services before opening up the market to new potential providers.