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Government Subcontract NHS Decisionmaking

Today the Government issued a tender document via the Official Journal of the European Union asking for offers for private organisations to take responsibility for making decisions in the NHS.

Lib Dem MP John Hemming has called for Patricia Hewitt, the Secretary of State for Health, to explain why she is tendering out decision-making in the Health Service.

"For some time", he said, "the government have made use of consultants for management services. The issuing of today's tender to the Official Journal of The European Union, however, is the first time decisionmaking has been tendered out."

"Recently the government issued a tender offer (17th June 2006) which asked for assistance with management services and advice. Today's tender, however, relates to the offering of healthcare services and allows decisionmaking to occur on behalf of Primary Care Trusts."

"It has been the habit of the government," he said ,"to blame PCTs for the decisions to close hospitals and other changes. This goes one step forward and will create a situation in which an unaccountable private organisation has the ability to change local services without the agreement of either the Primary Care Trusts or the Ministers."

"This is an abdication of responsibility by government. I have been talking to the Unions and they are very unhappy about this and I am expecting them to want to meet the Minister for her to explain the situation. I have also approached her and asked her to explain what is going on."

The link is to the DH website with the tender documents on it.

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