Former health secretary and Labour MP Frank Dobson has questioned the records of some of the 14 firms listed on the Department of Health's framework for procuring external support for commissioners.

Mr Dobson has asked the Department of Health to ensure that 'no healthcare organisations indicted for fraud against the federal or state government in the US are given contacts to provide services for the NHS or NHS patients'.

Mr Dobson said that he believed companies or people indicted for 'swindling American taxpayers, doctors, or patients, or who are presently subjected to lawsuits connected to that or are being investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, are unfit to be involved with our health service and should not be awarded contracts in the NHS, or by the DoH'.

A DoH spokeswoman told HSJ that the firms had been appointed to the FESC by 'fair, transparent and non-discriminatory' process. 'The regulations require that as a part of due diligence all participating organisations must complete a pre-qualification questionnaire to ensure that they are suitable to play a role in the NHS.'