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Privatising county NHS contract 'will only save 0.07%'

Lancashire County Council awarded the 104m contract to Virgin
Lancashire County Council awarded the 104m contract to Virgin

A controversial move to privatise parts of Lancashire’s health services would save just 0.07 per cent, it has been revealed.

Last year Lancashire County Council announced that it was awarding the £104m contract for the Healthy Child programme to Virgin, rather than local NHS providers.
The county council said that the bid followed a “rigorous process heavily weighted in favour of quality service”.
But court documents reveal that the difference between the two bids was just 0.07 per cent – or £14,560 a year. The decision proved controversial, and Lancashire Care NHS Trust and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals – who currently run the service – have launched a legal challenge against the decision. The process is ongoing, but Mr Justice Fraser has suspended the process of privatisation and refused the council’s appeal against the suspension.
His judgement states: “The competing bidders’ prices were almost identical, accounting for a difference of just 0.07 per cent in their overall scores.”
James Rupa, Unison North West Regional Organiser said: “These servces should remain in the NHS. The council has made a short-sighted and reckless decision in awarding such a large and important contract to Virgin.
“The judgement shows how privatising key services will damage our local NHS organisations and will not save the council significant money.”