HC Deb 23 October 1984 vol 65 c570W
Mr. Wareing

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what action he is taking to ensure that, in his plans to privatise the hospital meals service, there is no danger to patients' health; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

Our circular HC(83)18 on competitive tendering for NHS support services issued in Sepember 1983, advised health authorities on how to ensure that standards are maintained by confirming the suitability and competence of contractors asked to tender, by specifying clearly the tasks to be undertaken, and by monitoring closely the contractors' performance.

The specimen contract documents for health service catering, which we distributed to authorities in November 1983 under cover of DA(83)40, contain extensive provisions to ensure that catering contractors adhere to the very high standards required in hospitals. Copies of the circlar and the specimen contract have been placed in the Library.