§ Mr. McAllion
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to vet private health companies which tender for contracts to run NHS services under the Government's private finance initiative. 
§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
All private sector organisations wishing to become involved in NHS schemes must, under European procurement legislation, pass through a prequalification stage under which their financial position, legal status and competence to carry out the task are explored. All companies which succeed in reaching tender stage of a project will have demonstrated their soundness in all these areas. It is the responsibility of NHS trusts and health boards to establish the suitability of prospective partners.