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Private firms harming NHS patients by failing to deliver medicines, Lords report warns

Private healthcare companies are harming NHS patients in their own homes by failing to deliver vital medicines, and then escaping censure amid an alarming lack of oversight by ministers and regulators, members of the House of Lords have warned.

More than 500,000 patients and their families rely on private companies paid by the NHS to deliver essential medical supplies, drugs and healthcare to their homes. The homecare medicines services sector is estimated to be worth billions of pounds.

A report by the Lords public services committee says patients are being harmed due to “real and serious problems” with the services provided by for-profit companies. The absence of a single person or organisation with overall control or oversight of the sector means poor performance is going unchecked, it says.

“There are serious problems with the way services are provided,” the Lords report says. “Some patients are experiencing delays, receiving the wrong medicine or not being taught how to administer their medicine. [This] can have serious impacts on patients’ health, sometimes requiring hospital care. This leaves NHS staff either firefighting the problems caused by problems in homecare medicines services, or working on the assumption that those services will fail.”

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Source: The Guardian, 16 November 2023


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