§ Mr. Ashley
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will institute an inquiry into the effect competitive tendering has had on (a) wages and conditions of staff (b) redundancy and pension conditions of staff, (c) the percentage of National Health Service spending on the above services and (d) the quality of the services provided;
(2) if he intends to take any steps to increase the speed of competitive tendering in the National Health Service;
(3) if he has any proposals to change the criteria for competitive tendering in National Health Service hospitals.
§ Mr. Hayhoe
I am glad to report that the policy is proving increasingly successful. So far in England tendering exercises have achieved estimated annual savings of over £28 million. These savings can be used to improve the care of patients. I expect health authorities to keep to the approved timetables for their tendering programmes in order to achieve the maximum benefits from this policy. There should be no lowering of the quality of the service provided, so long as departmental advice is followed. I see no need to set up an inquiry.574W
§ Mr. Dobson
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement concerning the Coopers and Lybrand report on competitive tendering for the catering requirements throughout district health authorities; and if he will place a copy of the report in the Library.
§ Mr. Hayhoe
I refer the hon. Member to my replies to the hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Pendry) on 21 October at columns47–48 and on 29 October.