§ Mr. Forman
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the latest estimate of the total value of purchases of goods and services made by the National Health Service; and what proportion of the total was supplied by the private sector.
§ Mr. Whitney
Purchases of goods and services in the Health Service are currently of the order of £2 billion a year. We do not keep a detailed analysis of purchases by sector.
However, as I announced in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Hannam) on 25 March, at columns 459–60, we believe that there is scope for improving the use of National Health Service purchasing power to strengthen suppliers' competitiveness and I am, with the help of a small group, reviewing actions to help support the development and maintenance of a strong, internationally competitive, health care industry.