The NHS spent £1.25bn - or 4.8 per cent of its budget - on treating NHS patients in private, independent or voluntary hospital and community services in 1998-99. The corresponding figures for previous years were £1.08bn (4.6 per cent) in 1997-98, and £870m (3.8 per cent) in 1996-97. Around 40 private sector providers of non-clinical services to the NHS were docked a total of £2m in penalties (including payments in kind) for failing to perform to time or to standard since May 1997. A further 15 had their contracts terminated.

(Hansard 13 June, column 579w)