I fully believe in the NHS, and the principle that healthcare should be provided free at the point of delivery, regardless of ability to pay. The Government will never privatise the NHS, nor would I support any government that attempted to do so.


The NHS has always included a degree of private provision. GP surgeries are independent contractors, for example, but there are strict safeguards within their contracts with the NHS that prevent them from charging patients for NHS care, or from using NHS resources to subsidise any private service in which they may be involved.


I know that a number of people are concerned about Operose Health, a subsidiary of Centene, being involved in a number of GP surgeries. However, let me reassure you that patient care will not be affected, and all NHS services will remain free at the point of delivery. As with all GP services, those for which Centene is responsible will continue to be regulated and inspected by the Care Quality Commission; and I understand that the relevant CCGs have followed the appropriate and robust processes.