The Labour Party has pledged to abolish rules forcing the NHS to run competitive tenders for services.
Jonathan Ashworth, shadow health secretary, said parts of the Health and Social Care Act that insist on competitive tendering and outsourcing would be repealed and he argued the NHS should be considered the preferred provider for services.
“Increasingly you now see… a whole load of competitive tendering going on all the time, contracts being handed out for community healthcare provisions to the private sector often not providing the quality of care that people expect,” Ashworth told the BBC’s Today programme.
The Health and Social Care Act 2012 gave healthcare commissioners more powers to run competitive tenders for services in a bid to increase efficiency and increase patient choice.
Section 75 of the act says regulations “may impose requirements” for commissioners to run competitive tenders.
Fleshing out the party’s manifesto pledge to reverse the privatisation of the NHS, Ashworth said Labour would “sweep away the provisions of the Health and Social Care act that insist on all this competitive tendering and outsourcing”, but added there may be examples of where private sector involvement would be necessary, for example to increase capacity.
The Green Party has also pledged in its manifesto to roll back the outsourcing of NHS services.
Also speaking to the BBC, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the future of the NHS was tied to the success of the Brexit negotiations. “The reality is the only way you can fund the NHS is by having a strong economy and that is why Brexit matters to the NHS,” he said.
The general election will take place on 8 June.
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