The Conservative government started to encourage the privatisation of ancillary services within the NHS

In the autumn on 1979, the Conservative government commenced efforts to encourage the privatisation of ancillary services such as cleaning and laundry by sending a letter to health authorities encouraging them to tender contracts. The voluntary approach had little impact and in September 1983 the government issued guidance which required authorities to offer work to the private sector.

Labour

Prime Minister: James Callaghan

Health and Social Services Minister: David Ennals