The biggest yet: £1.1bn health contract offered to private providers
Labour condemns 'most audacious sell-off to date'
The biggest chunk of NHS care yet is to be bought from a private provider, in a contract worth up to £1.1 billion.
The contract, which will include end-of-life care for the elderly, is being offered by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough clinical commissioning group (CCG), one of the more than 200 GP-led bodies which buy services for their local patients.
It is worth between £140m and £160m per year for five years, with a two-year extension option, and will replace six separate contracts the CCG already has with NHS providers.
Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, told The Guardian: "One year to the day that Danny Boyle famously celebrated before the eyes of the world an NHS that puts people before profits, we find a government stealthily breaking it up and selling it off.
"This is the most audacious sell-off to date and evidence of how, in the wake of the Health and Social Care Act, the scale and pace of NHS privatisation is ramping up."
The Department of Health denied it was privatising the NHS, and hailed the "important" role played by external providers.
NHS providers can also express an interest in the contract, but the British Medical Association has said they will struggle to match private competitors.
Dr Mark Porter, chair of the BMA's council, said: "The BMA remains concerned that large non-NHS providers, such as those organisations apparently interested in the older people's care contract in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, could have an unfair advantage during the tendering process over smaller, less well-resourced competitors, especially those from the NHS.
"The unacceptable damage to patient care that occurred in out-of-hours provision in Cornwall demonstrates that there are still worrying flaws in how non-NHS providers are monitored once they take over the running of NHS services. The possible fragmentation of patient care is also deeply worrying and has not been properly addressed by ministers."
The deadline for expressions of interest is Monday, with Virgin Care, Serco and Circle all reportedly interested.
- 1 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 2 Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
- 4 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Pro-Russian rebel 'admits to shooting down plane'
Israel-Gaza conflict: Deadly flechette shells 'used by Israeli military in Gaza Strip’
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Blogger captures footage ‘showing BUK missile launcher that shot down jet’ now back in Russia
Peaches Geldof inquest: Tragic final moments of socialite's life reveal she lied to husband about failed heroin tests
Israel-Gaza conflict: The myth of Hamas’s human shields
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: PMO Analyst - Banking - London - £350 -£400 per d...
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Mechanical E...
£200 - £260 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Accountant, Reconciliations, Bristo...