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NHS contract-out spend to rise, groups warn

One pound in every £10 spent by the NHS on healthcare in Sussex is going to private companies and campaign groups and unions say the figure is likely to rise as a result of the controversial shake-up of the NHS, a report from The Argus reveals.

The data, obtained by the daily under the Freedom of Information Act show that over £267m was paid out in one year to private firms to treat NHS patients. This has led to concerns that more and more healthcare services will be given to privatecompanies that are more concerned about the bottom line than patient care.

Paul Evans from the Brighton- based NHS Support Federation lobby group, told The Argus: “We are seeing a vast expansion in the private sector providing treatments to NHS patients. Government changes mean there are now huge profits to be made. The impact upon the NHS will be damaging as it will lose out on vital funding when cuts are already creating huge pressure.

“We have already seen evidence of corner-cutting from private companies, causing delays and poorer quality care for patients. Patients trust the NHS because it puttheir needs first. We must avoid an NHS led by the market and controlled by big business.”