§ 67. Mr. Boswell
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in the introduction of contracts for medical services within the National Health Service.
§ Mr. Freeman
The introduction of contracts for services provided by National Health Service hospitals and community units is one of the most significant reforms proposed in the White Paper "Working for Patients". Good progress has been made in preparing for the implementation of this major change once it has been approved by Parliament. On 1 March, I announced the publication of "Contracts for Health Services: Operating Contracts". This builds on and supplements guidance issued in September last year in "Contracts for Health Services: Operational Principles". In particular it contains specimen contracts which have been developed within the National Health Service, largely with financial support from the Department. These specimens show what can be achieved already in specifying the nature and quality of services to be provided for patients. Publishing them with the guidance will assist clinicians and managers across the country to develop useful forms of contract for every part of the service. We intend contracts to be in general use from April 1991.