NHS England calls for end to rules under which firms have won £10.5 billion of contracts
'NHS bosses have urged ministers to scrap controversial legislation that has led to the widespread privatisation of healthcare as part of a major revamp of the health service.
NHS England outlined detailed plans that would repeal key parts of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 in order to squeeze out private providers such as Virgin Care and let the NHS again deliver more of its own care.
Their proposals include axing regulations that have allowed profit-driven health firms to win an estimated £10.5bn of NHS contracts in England in the five years after the act came into force in April 2013.
At its monthly board meeting on Thursday, NHS England published proposals which, if taken forward by ministers – who are supportive – would unwind and dismantle large parts of the shake-up instigated by Andrew Lansley, who from 2010 to 2012 was the coalition government’s health secretary.
Theresa May has acknowledged that the 2012 act – widely considered to be the most damaging ever to affect the NHS – is hindering efforts to modernise the health service in England’s drive to provide better care through integration of key services.
Section 75 of that act and, separately, the public contracts regulations 2015 together force clinical commissioning groups in England – which hold the NHS budget locally – to put out to tender any contract for care worth more than £615,278 over its lifetime. That has led to a massive expansion in the amount of care being provided by forms such as Virgin and Care UK.
It has helped Richard Branson’s Virgin Care to gain a significant foothold in the NHS in England to the extent that it now holds more than 400 separate contracts to look after patients.'
Read more: Scrap laws driving privatisation of health service, say NHS bosses