From the Financial Times:
"A pioneering £700m-a-year government scheme to buy surgical treatment centres and diagnostic services from the private sector is set to be more than halved by ministers.
The decision – expected later this week – will not only mark another retreat from the use of the private sector in healthcare but will also see the health department forced to pay out millions of pounds in compensation."
The waste, £20 million pounds in compensation to private sector firms to cover the cost of bidding for contracts now cancelled, is a frustrating result of an insincere flirtation with involving the private sector in healthcare. More importantly a glimmer of hope that we might see providers from outside the lumbering NHS bureaucracy involved in providing healthcare is now pretty much gone. With the existing contracts more than halved - from £700 million a year to as little as £200 million - there is little prospect of this small step away from a politician and bureaucrat-led NHS being turned into important healthcare reform.