§ Mr. Austin Mitchell
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if his Department plans the contracting out of any additional services; and whether self-governing trusts will be allowed to contract out nursing or medical services.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
There are no plans for another central initiative for additional specific NHS services to be subject to mandatory competitive tendering. Competitive tendering does, however, offer scope for increasing effectiveness and value for money across a wide range of services. We shall continue to support and encourage its extension. NHS trusts will be free to decide how best to provide services in order to fulfil the contracts that they make with health authorities and other purchasers.