Hospital trusts spend £61.7m on tendering costs in the past year

The Mirror has reported that a series of Freedom of Information requests by the Labour Party has revealed that hospital trusts spent £61.7 million on tendering procedures in the past year, competing against each other under what it describes as the NHS “internal market”. Despite the paper’s rhetoric, commissioners are not forced out to tender by current commissioning rules, and can decide not to tender for services if they believe that the incumbent provider is the only one able to undertake the service.

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham used the figures to once again criticise the costs of competition in the NHS, adding that the Party would put all its efforts behind a Private Members’ Bill by Clive Efford MP, which seeks to remove the competition elements from the NHS brought in under last year’s Health and Social Care Act. Burnham has previously said that he still believes that there will be a role for the private sector in the NHS following next year’s General Election, recognising capacity issues in the service due to an ever-increasing demand.