§ 48. Mr. McAllion
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what progress has been made within the Scottish Health Service in respect of putting contracts out to competitive tendering.
§ Mr. Michael Forsyth
Health boards continue to make significant progress. By the end of November, 155 contracts had been awarded and these are expected to release savings of more than £60 million over the periods of the contracts. These savings are available to boards for 287W reinvestment in direct patient care. Of the 155 contracts awarded, 119 (over 75 per cent.) have been won by in-house teams. The total savings released could buy over 5,500 renal dialysis machines or pay for over 20,000 hip replacement operations or around 9,500 heart bypass operations.
§ Mr. Allan Stewart
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what evidence he has on the effect on the standards of cleaning and catering in hospitals in Scotland of competitive tendering.
§ Mr. Michael Forsyth
An independent company has recently carried out a snapshot survey of cleaning and catering contracts both in-house and private in Scotland. The report of the survey indicates that with respect to domestic services, cleaning standards overall were good. In 14 out of 24 hospitals visited, the standard of cleanliness was rated as very good, nine hospitals were rated as adequate, and only one (a geriatric hospital with problems related to incontinence) was rated poor/not clean. With regard to catering, 29 hospital contracts were assessed, of which 25 were reported as producing food which was good or very good and served at an acceptable temperature. Four were rated either as adequate or poor, with in four cases less than acceptable temperature (not hot) being the main complaint. Where shortcomings have been found, these are being drawn to the attention of the board general manager. In light of this survey I am satisfied that standards are at the very least being maintained and that steps will be taken to put right such shortcomings as were found.
§ 60. Mr. McAvoy
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will instruct health boards to make public the details of all contracts with private companies for the provision of services to health board patients.
§ Mr. Forsyth
No such instruction is required: health boards normally issue news releases giving information on important contracts awarded. Additionally, boards have in the past given detailed information in response to requests from hon. Members.