Thank you for contacting me about EDM 1628 and private sector involvement in the NHS.
I fully believe in our NHS and its values, which is why I welcome that the Government has guaranteed that the NHS will always provide healthcare free at the point of delivery, regardless of ability to pay. The Government has also been absolutely clear that it will never privatise the NHS.
The use of private providers and the voluntary sector in the delivery of NHS services is not a new concept, with previous Governments introducing the independent sector and competition into the NHS between 1997 and 2010. Most general practitioner (GP) practices are private partnerships that hold contracts with NHS England and NHS Improvement to provide primary medical services.
Centene Corporation does not own any GP surgeries in England. Centene is the owner of Operose Health Ltd.’s holding companies. It is Operose Health Ltd that holds the GP practice contracts.
While I acknowledge your concern about their involvement in GP surgeries, patient care will not be affected, and all services remain free at the point of delivery. As with all GP services, those for which Operose Health is responsible will continue to be regulated and inspected by the Care Quality Commission. I understand that the CCGs where this has happened have followed the appropriate and robust processes prior to transfer of responsibility. The NHS has always involved a mixture of public and private provision, and it is absolutely not for sale to private providers.
Moreover, I’m afraid that, as a matter of principle and like many other MPs, I do not sign EDMs which have no real parliamentary function and yet are very expensive to administer. However, I appreciate your strength of feeling on this matter, and will continue to monitor the situation carefully.
Above all, competition in the NHS should act as a means to an end in improving services for patients, never as an end in itself.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking