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Tories criticise review of ISTCs


16 November, 2007  

The Conservatives have criticised a Government review which will see several Independent Sector Treatment Centres (ISTCs) dropped.

Six schemes are being discontinued and one is having its contract terminated, although three new projects with a combined value of £200m providing 19,600 diagnostic scans and 123,000 kidney dialysis sessions per year have been approved.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson denied the moves are a U-turn over private involvement in the NHS.

But the review of the second wave of ISTCs will mean compensation, possibly running into millions of pounds, may have to be paid to the firms involved.

Shadow health minister Stephen O’Brien said: “This is an admission of incompetence and failure by ministers.

“Central procurement has led to poor value for money and major costs in tendering which have now been abandoned.

“It was always clear that the right policy is to allow independent sector provision to NHS standards and tariff, based on patient choice and local commissioning.

“Alan Johnson and the Labour Government still cling to the fallacy that they should control capacity from the centre.”

But Mr Johnson said: “The reduction in the overall size of the procurement does not represent a change in policy. As I have stated before, we will continue to use the independent sector.”

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