In a very worrying development, privatisation of the NHS may be entering a whole new phase. Private contractors are being offered the opportunity not just to provide services but also to commission them. This involves £2bn of mental health, learning disability and autism services. Read more here and here.
Labour’s Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Barbara Keeley, is spot on when she says ‘We have seen too many examples of private providers cutting corners, and not giving service users the support that they need. There is a real danger that any greater involvement for private providers means that a focus on the person using services is lost. It is not acceptable for private hospitals to be involved in commissioning decisions for services for which they are bidding’.