§ Mr. Hoyle
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services which health authorities have responded favourably to the letter from the Minister for Health dated 20 August, on the possibility of using private enterprise in the National Health Service; and if he will list the authorities and the services they intend, or are, putting out to private enterprise.
§ Mr. Michael Brown
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what response he has received from the chairman of regional and area health authorities following his letter to them of September 1981 to request them to consider the benefits of privatisation of services within the National Health Service.
§ Dr. Vaughan
Their experience varies but most are satisfied with existing contractual arrangements and confirm that they will continue to use private enterprise for a range of services—described in the reply to the hon. Member on 22 December [Vol. 15, c.384–5]. A list in the form required cannot be provided.
§ Mr. Michael Brown
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he has considered using the private sector as an alternative source of support management to health service administrators:
(2) if he will require health authorities regularly to test the market for efficiency and cost effectiveness using a re-tendering process involving private companies and direct labour;
(3) if he will instruct health authorities that commissioning teams responsible for new hospital projects should be advised to give consideration to the use of a wider range of services available from the private sector with a view to maximising allocated resources to patient care.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg
I am most grateful to my hon. Friend for these suggestions which will be considered along with other issues in our current development of policy on contracted out services by health authorities. Certainly we believe that the private sector should be given every opportunity to compete on fair terms for a range of services in the interests of providing them in the most economic and efficient way.