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70% of NHS contracts won by private firms

According to a campaign group, almost 70% of contracts for NHS services in England between April-December 2013 were awarded to private firms.

NHS reforms mean that ‘qualified providers’ can bid to provide clinical services such as; scans, out of hours care, diagnostics such as blood tests and X-rays.

The NHS Support Federation claimed that private firms won 39 out of 57 contracts awarded. However, the government described the figures as ‘selective and misleading’.

The campaign group said that contracts worth a total of £5bn were advertised between April-December 2013. £510m worth of theses contracts were awarded with £450m awarded to non-NHS suppliers.

Director Paul Evans says the question is whether private companies will provide a better service for patients. “I think people are going to be genuinely surprised by what’s happening,” he says.

"The scope of this change means that it is affecting all kinds of care that you might experience as a patient, everything from your first visit to the GP, diagnostic tests, treatment in hospital and care further on from that. We're talking about the whole gamut of care and a massive change in the way we use services in the future."
However, the Department of Health (DoH) said the NHS Support Federation's figures ‘only relate to a small sample of NHS contracts and are therefore selective and misleading’.
A spokesperson said: "The reality is that private sector providers only carry out around 6% of all NHS work."