BMA lobbying

COVID-19: the role of private outsourcing

Our analysis of the scale and impact of private outsourcing during the response to the pandemic.

Location: England
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Friday 24 July 2020
Topics: COVID 19

What you will get from this report

  • Our research on the scale and scope of private outsourcing in response to Covid-19.
  • Our analysis of the impact that overreliance on outsourcing is having –both on patients and doctors.
  • Our concerns about the questionable value for money, lack of transparency, and increased fragmentation resulting from use of private contracting.
  • Our assessment of the effectiveness of the Westminster government’s response to the pandemic, and the role private outsourcing has played in this.
  • Our recommendations for change and key asks.


Our key asks

  • Private outsourcing in England to be scrutinised in any future public inquiry on the UK government’s handling of the Covid crisis.
  • Transparency of private contractual agreements.
  • A more robust governance system under NHS control that has oversight of management and coordination of procurement.
  • A substantial and sustained increase in funding for the NHS and local public health departments, including clarity on funding beyond 2020/21.
  • A publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable NHS.


  • Summary
  • The BMA's view on privatisation
  • The role of private outsourcing in the pandemic response
  • BMA analysis on the role and impact of outsourcing during the pandemic
  • Key recommendations