Jill Kirby

Burnham blocks reform

Burnham blocks reform
Text settings

More evidence today that the TUC is dictating government policy on public services. Nick Timmins in the FT notes that Andy Burnham’s new guidance to health authorities requires them to treat NHS organisations as the “preferred providers” of care, reversing the Blair/Milburn reforms which opened up health care to private suppliers. By insisting that NHS providers have ‘at least two chances to improve’ before failing services are put out to tender, and that NHS staff should have the opportunity to bid not just once but twice for any new service contracts, Burnham is effectively excluding private providers from the process. It’s no surprise that Unison welcomes the move as a ‘significant policy shift.’ No word yet from Andrew Lansley. But, if he wants value for money in healthcare, then he will surely promise to tear up these guidelines asap…

Jill Kirby is the Director of the Centre for Policy Studies