Thank you for contacting me about private sector involvement in the NHS.
The Government is committed to protecting the NHS and that is why the Government has increased the budget for the NHS spending every year since 2010. I know that Ministers have guaranteed that it will always provide treatment free at the point of need, regardless of ability to pay, and that the Government will not privatise the NHS.
The use of private providers and the voluntary sector in the delivery of NHS services is not a new concept, and should not be deem as one. The Labour Government between 1997 and 2010 introduced the independent sector and competition into the NHS. The focus throughout the NHS is to provide the highest quality of care to patients - and that is completely shared by the Government. Charities and social enterprises, such as Macmillan Nurses, continue to play an important role in the NHS, as they have done for many years.
The NHS compares well with the best health systems around the world. This year's Commonwealth Fund report put the NHS at the top of its league table of health systems, repeating its success in 2014. This does not mean that the NHS has nothing to learn from other health systems. In order to improve services for patients many of our best Trusts are keen to learn from international peers, drawing on insights from leading organisations such as Ribera Salud of Spain and Kaiser Permanente in the U. S. On occasions, NHS organisations work in formal partnership with their peers, to the benefit of the NHS and the peers themselves.
The NHS is something to be valued and protected which is why I support the Government's commitment to increase NHS spending in England by a minimum of £8 billion in real terms over the next five years.
This will enable the NHS to implement its own plan for the future, including its procurement procedure, to further improve health care in the Five Year Forward View.
I trust this clarifies the Government's position that competition in the NHS should act as a means to an end in improving services for patients, never as an end in itself. And I hope that the CEO of the NHS, Simon Steven continues to adapt the Five Year Forward Plan.