01 November 2007
Campaigners have criticised the Department of Health for including a US company that has been investigated for fraud on a list of "trusted" suppliers.
The department announced the names of 14 companies on its Framework for Procuring External Services (FESC). But one of the firms, United Healthcare, paid the US government $3.5 million in 2004 to settle allegations it had defrauded Medicare.
Other suppliers on the FESC list have been accused of trying to deny care to US patients in the new Michael Moore film Sicko
Alex Nunns, spokesman for pressure group Keep Our NHS Public, refuted claims by health minister Ivan Lewis that the new list represented suppliers who "are known and trusted". "Anyone who sees the film will dispute claims they should be trusted."
Labour MP Frank Dobson has asked Parliament to give assurances that no healthcare organisation indicted for fraud or found to have practised deceptive sales will be given NHS contracts.