§ Mr. Allan Stewart
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his policy towards contracting out in the National Health Service in the light of the report by 291W the Secretary General of the Contract Cleaning and Maintenance Association entitled "A Statement on the Difficulties Experienced by Contractors Working with Government Departments," a copy of which has been forwarded to him; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Newton
We have yet to consider fully the report by the secretary-general of the Contract Cleaning and Maintenance Association. However, the policy of competitive tendering in the National Health Service will continue as part of the Government's drive towards improving the cost effectiveness of hospital support services. Private contractors and in-house staff have each played their part in generating considerable savings, currently estimated to be £73 million a year. These savings are retained by health authorities and are available for further development of direct patient care services. Officials meet regularly with representatives of the Contract Cleaning and Maintenance Association. Any modifications to the policy that may be required in the light of this report will be considered with all interested parties.