Leeds KONP will be investigating further the transparency of privatisation of NHS services in this area, over the next few weeks. A search on the European Tenders database (free registration required) shows 16 services advising of tendering, intention to tender, contracts currently awarded including open and restricted tender procedures. (list attached)
As Grahame Morris, MP notes, the public have little right to information about how our money is being spent:
Since January 2012, nearly £8 billion of NHS services have been or are in the process of being privatised, with companies seeking to make profits of 8% or more from each contract.
While public services are being outsourced to the private sector, especially in the NHS, Freedom of Information responsibilities are not following the public pound. Private health care companies can hide behind a cloak of commercial confidentiality when barely transparent contracts are awarded.
At the start of the bidding process private providers already receive a competitive advantage due to unequal disclosure requirements.
Private companies are free to use the Freedom of Information Act to gain detailed knowledge of a public sector provider, which can then be used to undercut or outbid the same public body when the contract is put out for tender.
NHS bodies must answer Freedom of Information requests relating to costs, performance and staffing. Yet a private provider has no similar duty of disclosure despite the fact they could have treated private patients for many years.