NHS data shows commissioners save significant amounts on support services when they buy most of their hotel and estates management from the private sector, a lobby group for the outsourcing industry has claimed.
A report from the Business Services Association compares the costs of primary care trusts which have outsourced more than three-quarters of these services with the average costs of support services to the NHS.
It found, over 2008-09 and 2009-10, those PCTs spent an average of £697,417 on cleaning services – 13.6 per cent below the NHS average of £806,322.
Their average per item cost for linen and laundry services was 41p, compared with an NHS average of 57p; their average per-patient per-day spend on catering was £7.58, compared with an NHS average of £8.25; and their average annual grounds maintenance bill was £39,622, compared with an NHS average of £46,672.
The report used statistics compiled by the NHS Information Centre.
An association spokesperson said: “Only 38 per cent of NHS support services are currently outsourced, with support services which are not outsourced accounting for £4bn per year.
“Outsourcing support services frequently saves over 25 per cent, which suggests possible savings of over £1bn through outsourcing the remainder of NHS support services.”
But Unison assistant general secretary Karen Jennings said: “These areas [in the report] are probably among the poorest paid in the NHS. And not only do they attack their terms and conditions, they also actually have fewer staff.”