Non-NHS agencies get £900m

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The Independent Online
More than £900m of taxpayers' money has been spent buying healthcare from agencies outside the National Health Service since changes began three years ago, Labour claimed today.

Alan Milburn, Labour MP for Darlington, said most of the spending was in England, with district health authorities paying non-NHS providers more than £250m. A further £51m was spent by NHS trusts and £30m by England's GP fundholders on private health treatment.

But the biggest increase in public spending on private provision was in Wales, up 232% and Scotland, up 508%. The figures came from Commons written replies.

Mr Milburn said: "The Conservatives' market changes in the NHS have given the green light to private medicine. The taxpayer is footing the bill for a massive state subsidy to the private healthcare industry."