Call for NAO to inspect private firms in PPPs

25 Oct 01
The National Audit Office should be able to inspect private companies involved in NHS public-private partnerships as part of a tighter regulatory regime of the initiative, the King's Fund said this week.

26 October 2001

In a policy paper on primary care PPPs, the think-tank said that private and voluntary sector bodies must accept a higher degree of disclosure and transparency.

'Contracts cannot be specified rigidly enough to accommodate the changing nature of health care. Several steps could be taken to ensure that the involvement of private and voluntary providers does not dilute public accountability,' it said.

These steps included giving the NAO a statutory power to access company information, making performance data public and giving private providers the same quality control systems as the NHS.

The NAO said it had supported a similar recommendation in February's Sharman report on the future of audit and accountability. That would give the watchdog access to bodies in receipt of public funds, including PFI contractors.

The safeguards should be put in place to allow primary care trusts to 'experiment carefully' with PPPs, argues Public-private partnerships and primary care, which the Fund has published with the NHS Alliance pressure group.

Dr Steve Gillam, King's Fund director of primary care, added that primary care groups and trusts should co-operate to get the most out of PPPs.


Did you enjoy this article?