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A third of NHS contracts handed to vultures

A third of NHS contracts have been handed to private companies since the government’s hated health reforms were introduced, figures published yesterday showed .

Of 3,494 contracts awarded by 182 of England’s clinical commissioning groups since they came came into being in April last year under the Health and Social Care Act, 33 per cent were awarded to private-sector providers.

The findings, obtained by the British Medical Journal through a Freedom of Information request, revealed that private providers were also more successful at winning contracts via competitive tender, winning 41 per cent compared with just 30 per cent going to the NHS. Private firms were also more likely to win smaller contracts on an “any qualified provider” basis, the journal states.

Keep Our NHS Public warned that the findings are proof of further creeping NHS privatisation under the health reforms.

Dr Jacky Davis, an NHS consultant radiologist and a founding member of Keep Our NHS Public, said: “We should remember the private sector does not want a lot of the NHS work because it is not profitable. So the big contracts, the acute work, will go to the NHS because the private sector won’t bid for it.

“There is a mass of evidence that private sector does not deliver good care.”

She warned that the private sector’s expertise is in winning contracts, not clinical care, highlighting studies showing higher death rates in private hospitals and horror stories of patients losing their sight after private cataract operations.

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