§ Mr. John Garrett asked the Secretary of State for Social Services to what extent the contracting out to private suppliers of health authority services has increased in the last year; and what scrutiny his Department exercises over the pricing policies of such private suppliers.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg: The identifiable expenditure in England on contract services for the last two years for which figures are available is as follows:
§ The Department does not scrutinise the pricing policies of the contractors. It is the responsibility of individual health authorities to ensure the cost effectiveness of any contracts into which they enter. The Department's auditors examine the range of services administered by health authorities, including contracts.