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ISTCs not yet up to speed say ministers

Independent Sector Treatment Centres have not integrated fully with the NHS, the Government has admitted.

Its response to a Health Select Committee report said the centres were still in their early stages and were an 'excellent opportunity' to draw together best practice from the NHS and private sectors.

But it added: 'Integration between ISTCs and the NHS has not yet reached the level we should hope for. This has limited the flow of innovation and best practice from the independent sector to the NHS and vice versa.'

ISTCs have come under fire for cherry-picking easier cases and not carrying out all of the procedures they have been paid for.

GP practices, through practice-based commissioning, would play a 'central role' as integrators of health services, the report said, by agreeing seamless clinical pathways.

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