§ Sir Anthony Meyer
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what guidance he proposes to issue to health authorities on the use of commercial contracts in the National Health Service in Wales.
§ Mr. Nicholas Edwards
I asked the health authorities in December 1981 to consider and report on the potential for securing services in appropriate fields by competitive contract and I have received their advice. More recently, the health management efficiency group, which the health authorities have established at my suggestion, has been considering whether it might assist the health authorities by developing guidelines for competitive contracting.279W
I now propose, after consultation on the terms, to issue a circular asking the health authorities to test the cost effectiveness of their domestic, catering and laundry services by comparing them with tenders obtained from commercial contractors. The greater use of competitive contracting where it is practicable should lead to financial savings and thereby contribute to more effective use of resources in the interest of patients.