Boost Private Sector in NHS, Say Tories
Byline: REBECCA PAVELEY
THE Tories will today unveil plans to take a giant step towards partly privatising the National Health Service if they return to power.
Under the proposals, to be announced by health spokesman Dr Liam Fox, the NHS would be allowed to buy more services from the private sector.
The plans build on Michael Portillo's promise at the party's conference last autumn to 'smash the Berlin Wall between the public and the private sector'.
Dr Fox, in a speech putting flesh on the bones of the Tories' vision for the NHS, will say: 'If a member of my family were ill, I would want the best treatment as quickly as possible for them. I wouldn't care whether the provider of the treatment was an NHS-run facility or not.' The NHS would continue to be funded out of taxes and patients would still be treated free under the Tory plans. But it would be able to purchase more of its services from the private sector.
'We are fully committed to a comprehensive National Health Service, free at the point of use and funded from taxation - albeit with very different priorities from those applied by this Government,' Dr Fox will promise.
The proposals are certain to be seized on by Labour, who have long accused the Tories of wanting to privatise the whole NHS. …