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OPM report says outsourcing NHS services and private sector involvement wastes public money

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A report by the Office for Public Management (OPM) claims outsourcing of services and private sector involvement in the NHS is a waste of public money

Outsourcing NHS services to private companies is a waste of time and money, according to a new report by independent think tank the Office for Public Management.

The report draws on experiences of senior NHS managers and commissioners and claims the process of hiring private firms is complex, bureaucratic and expensive.

Based on first-hand evidence, the report claims outsourcing and private sector involvement has failed to produce cost benefits and quality of services has suffered.

In particular it criticises the Framework for Procuring External Support for Commissioners, which it says has not provided value for money.

The report says ‘easier’ services tend to be outsourced first, with more complex, high-profile or litigious elements being deemed less attractive to the private sector.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said: ‘At a time when finances are increasingly tight, the NHS cannot afford to be throwing precious money away to the private sector and wasting time and resources on the complexity of the commissioning process.

‘Patients want more involvement in decision-making and staff want to spend more time on providing excellent patient care than tendering for contracts. Unfortunately this report shows that the various reforms to outsource or privatise parts of the NHS are working against these goals.’

See also: Union warns over cancelled operations

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Absolutely. It may not always be the easier services that are 'sold off' - out of hours services are not easier, they require better staffing and safety for the professionals delivering them.

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