As outsourcing contracts collapse, Tories are talking about charging for NHS services

An NHS contract to outsource care of older and mentally ill people collapsed after just eight months [Image: Getty].

An NHS contract to outsource care of older and mentally ill people collapsed after just eight months [Image: Getty].

This is where our money is going.

Because the Conservatives are keen to give public money to private enterprise, two NHS trusts banded together to become a service provider for older people and those who were mentally ill – and failed.

That means they were being paid our money for a service they couldn’t provide – so the people who needed the service didn’t get it.

They still need the service but the money has gone.

And now a Conservative MP has proposed charging people for NHS services.


This fiasco happened because the Conservatives created a false need to pay private firms for services.

The answer is not to introduce more commercialism into the NHS, but to strip it out completely.

Private firms should be banned from competing for NHS contracts, and the service should return to being run on sound principles of financial competence.

That is the lesson.

But Tories won’t learn from it, because they are wedded to an outdated, market-driven philosophy that simply isn’t relevant to a service like the NHS.

A “catalogue of failures” resulted in the collapse of an £800 million NHS contract to outsource care of older and mentally ill people, the Commons spending watchdog warned.

An influential committee of MPs concluded that the NHS lacked expertise in procurement and it was “worrying” that untested contracting arrangements could form part of the plans being drawn up for further changes to services across England.

The Public Accounts Committee was scathing about the doomed deal between Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and UnitingCare Partnership, which collapsed after just eight months.

The cash-strapped CCG awarded a five-year contract to UnitingCare, an NHS consortium of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, but the deal was scrapped in December 2015 after it ran into difficulties.

The MPs said: “The procurement exercise was undermined from the start by poor commercial expertise, a lack of realistic pricing, and weak oversight.

“The CCG accepted the lowest bid on the table, without seeking proper assurance that the two trusts, which had combined to form the UnitingCare Partnership, could deliver for that price.

“It was then grossly irresponsible of the trusts and the CCG to rush ahead with the contract without having resolved significant differences in their understanding of the contract price or indeed the scope of services that were included in that price.”

Source: NHS outsourcing contract collapses due to ‘catalogue of failures’ | The Independent

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7 thoughts on “As outsourcing contracts collapse, Tories are talking about charging for NHS services

  1. Dez

    Yup just had a total failure of a local ambulance service the leader of which had just failed not providing services in another area. So not only are NHS Procurement commercially unaware they also lack basic risk management skills.. Their entire focus is the bottom line and those that have the real service expertise to judge a good robust successly service are either totally demoralised, ignored or even ostracised because they are seen as party poopers to the cunning plans.. Once the outsource strategy has been bought in by the usual brainless suits and overpaid so called leaders it becomes totally impossible to reinstate what was there before as that expertise and structure has been disbanded or usually retired off. Some of these scams are being led by total morons which even basic common sense could see are disasters in waiting. It also still surprising that the basic commercial teaching that cheapest is not always the best still prevails in Procurement who might get pat on the head for saving a few upfront quid but escape a kick up the arse when it all goes breasts up. Procurement also walk away when the deal is done leaving their customers and fellow officers to pick up the pieces of their chaotic decision…..which then ends up twice as expensive as what was there. But hey as long as our cash ends up in the pockets of greedy money grabbing entrepeneurs who slash and burn and do not deliver on their promises thats all right then. It’s a typical Cons total crock of poo which will just get worse and worse.

    1. rotzeichen

      Prior to the introduction of Lansley’s legislation a risk assessment was carried out on all the proposals and the coalition along with the present Tory government have refused to make that assessment public Knowledge for obvious reasons.

      They continue to keep it under wraps and just like Margaret Thatcher’s Secret 1982 cabinet papers released in 2012 under the thirty year rule, it will be released when most have forgotten what it originally meant.

      The whole Neo-Liberal agenda is not restricted to Britain alone but is world wide, Austrian School and Chicago School economics have brought the world economy to it’s knees and the perpetrators of this madness just don’t care, so long as they can blame it on the victims they feel safe.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        You’re right – This Blog covered the “risk assessment” fiasco as it happened but it is worth reminding the public of it now.

  2. lambtonwyrm

    Patient transport which has been farmed out here fails time after time for my Dad who goes for dialysis 3 times a week

  3. pj21516

    The minute the May Government attempts to introduce charging for medical help this will have to be the minute the People of the United Kingdom down tools and close the Country down because if we do nothing we will be condemning our children’s children and generations after them to a life of purgatory no better than our Victorian Ancestors had.

  4. franceskaywriter

    Time to tell the Tories that they simply don’t know how to manage or fund our single most prized resource. Everyone, regardless of party, said when polled that the NHS is our greatest achievement. The Tories are clearly not competent and should hand over government to people who are.

Comments are closed.