CONTRACTING OUT OF SERVICES FROM THE NHS
ADVICE PACK FOR RCN MEMBERS
WHAT THE POLICY MEANS IN PRACTICE
1. The role of competitive tendering in the NHS
The RCN stance on competitive tendering means that there is no opposition in principle to the concept of contracting out. The College accepts that there may be areas where efficiency savings and/or improvements to services can be made, and that the process of competitive tendering may assist with this. However, it is paramount that the standard of patient care must be at least maintained, and preferably improved. The generation of savings cannot be considered in isolation from other effects of competitive tendering.
The RCN policy aims to ensure that all aspects of services are considered, and that decisions on contracts are based on professional assessment of overall quality of service to patients, not on purely financial grounds.
Experience in the NHS to date has shown that the risk of contracting out is such that the RCN believes it can only be justified if substantial amounts of money are saved and used to the direct benefit of patient care.
This “blinkered” RCN position lead the local RCN officer during the Hillingdon hospital domestic dispute to state that it had nothing to do with nursing