Thank you for contacting me about NHS Professionals and EDM 152.
On 7th September 2017, the Department of Health announced that NHS Professionals Ltd will remain in total public ownership. This decision was made following a lengthy, rigorous and transparent bidding process, during which the performance of NHS Professionals markedly improved, and the offers received undervalued the company’s potential, and would not have represented best-value for the UK taxpayer.
You may be interested to know that NHS Professionals Ltd was established as a private company by the last Labour Government with the intention to prepare it for sale. This was to open up the company to the extra expertise, technology and investment needed to help it work with more hospitals and provide greater savings to the NHS with its provision of flexible bank staff, rather than using expensive agencies to supply additional staff. I am pleased to note that the Government managed to reduce spending on agency staffing by nearly £700 million last year, all of which is reinvested in patient care.
However, throughout the bidding process – which began in November 2016 – NHS Professionals Ltd’s performance improved significantly, to the point that its profits before tax for the 2016/17 year were 44 per cent higher than in the previous year. Such improved financial and operational performance means that it can sustainably invest in its own improved IT infrastructure, expand its services to more trusts in the NHS, and become a world-class provider of flexible staff whilst remaining in full public ownership. Such performance means that NHS Professionals can remain under public ownership and generate vital revenue, which will be reinvested in frontline services.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.