Thank you for contacting me about EDM 1628 and private sector involvement in the NHS.
I fully believe in our NHS and its values, which is why I welcome that the Government has guaranteed that the NHS will always provide healthcare free at the point of delivery, regardless of ability to pay. Let me be abundantly clear: the Government will never privatise the NHS.
The use of private providers and the voluntary sector in the delivery of NHS services is not a new concept, with the previous Government introducing the independent sector and competition into the NHS between 1997 and 2010. Most general practitioner (GP) practices are private partnerships that hold contracts with NHS England and NHS Improvement to provide primary medical services.
Centene Corporation does not own any GP surgeries in England. Centene is the owner of Operose Health Ltd.’s holding companies. It is Operose Health Ltd that holds the GP practice contracts.
While I acknowledge your concern about their involvement in GP surgeries, patient care will not be affected, and all services remain free at the point of delivery. As with all GP services, those for which Operose Health is responsible will continue to be regulated and inspected by the Care Quality Commission. I understand that the CCGs where this has happened have followed the appropriate and robust processes prior to transfer of responsibility. The NHS has always involved a mixture of public and private provision, and it is absolutely not for sale to private providers.
With regard to EDMs, I want to let you know that I do not routinely sign EDMs as I believe I can be far more effective in drawing attention to pressing issues by raising them both formally in Parliamentary settings and committee meetings and informally when talking to ministers and fellow MPs. An EDM often is there to highlight a cause but often I feel that the effect dilutes what can be achieved by other means of communication at Westminster. I am asked to sign countless EDMs and again I think this dilutes the support that can be given.
I am sorry if my reply may disappoint you. In parliamentary terms, an EDM being raised rarely leads to any direct consequence and indeed very few are actually debated. Instead, they are used for reasons such as publicising the views of individual MPs, or drawing attention to specific events or campaigns. I hope this helps you understand why I have chosen not to sign any EDMs.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.