Independent Sector Providers and the NHS (March 2023)

Thank you for contacting me about independent sector providers and the NHS.

The Government is clear that the NHS will always provide healthcare free at the point of delivery, regardless of ability to pay.

The use of independent providers and the voluntary sector have historically played a role in the delivery of NHS services, including under the previous Labour government.

The most important way to support the delivery of care in the NHS is through investment. The Government is investing an extra £45.6 billion in funding for health and social care over the next three years, delivering better care for patients. As set out in the 2021 Spending Review, NHS England’s day-to-day budget is set to grow by 3.8 per cent on average up to 2024/25, supporting the NHS to tackle the elective backlog, deliver its Long Term Plan and ensure it has the resources needed to fight Covid-19.

The Government is also making the largest health capital investment in a decade, making a real difference to the lives of NHS staff and patients, including the hospital rebuilding programme, new community diagnostic centres and mental health urgent and emergency care facilities. A new mental health hospital  is going to be built in Bexhill after strenuous lobbying by my colleague, Huw Merriman MP and I. Plans for  a new community diagnostic centre in Hastings were announced recently. This will provide thousands of local patients in Hastings with quicker access to tests, checks and scans.

I strongly dispute the claims being made in this campaign about the use of private and independent healthcare providers to deliver NHS care. Even the authors of the University of Oxford study themselves note in their conclusion that: “our findings should not be interpreted as necessarily showing a causal relationship between outsourcing and mortality rates.”

I am proud to support a Government that is committed to improving standards of patient safety, wherever NHS or independent sector care is provided. This has included establishing the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch to investigate patient safety concerns, including care at private or independent healthcare provider settings.

Procurement and commissioning processes are vital to ensuring that the NHS can provide the best possible care, including the adoption of innovation and efficiency. The Health and Care Act 2022 made changes to the requirement for local health bodies to competitively tender for some health care services “where it adds no or limited value”.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.


Yours sincerely


Sally-Ann Hart MP