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Thursday 27th October 2016

Letwin denies NHS privatisation

12th October 2006

04072006_patientmedrecords1.jpgA row has broken out over claims that Oliver Letwin said there would be “no limit� on the use of private contractors in the NHS in a Sunday newspaper. His party have denied their policy review chairman made these comments to the Sunday Times as part of carrying forward Labour’s reforms, but would halt the use of targets and directives which he believed affected staff morale.

But the controversial comments on NHS privatisation on the eve of the Tory Party conference in Bournemouth, were almost immediately denied by the party. The Conservatives fear the interview has destablised their efforts to move away from their old image of breaking up the NHS and privatising it’s services. The paper reported Mr Letwin as saying there would be “no limit� on the use of private contractors – but the Conservative Party has issued a statement denying that he had made the remark, while the journalist involved said it was ‘absolutely, categorically’ what he said and the tape has been listened to by BBC journalists who said they heard him use the words.

Despite this the Conservative party have insisted Mr Letwin had not made any such comment to the paper and released a transcript of the interview which they said showed Mr Letwin did not use that phrase.

In his Sunday Times interview Mr Letwin also said a Conservative government would not introduce insurance-based healthcare, but did believe PCTs would need to buy from a “wide range of sources�. David Cameron said the NHS was a key priority for the Tories. Accusing Labour of mismanaging the health service at his conference address, he said the NHS was safe in their hands.


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