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Think tank calls for private sector to run up to 30 NHS hospitals

Private companies should be allowed to bid to run up to 30 NHS hospitals, 21 of which of the Department of Health has already classified as ‘clinically and financially unsustainable’, according to an influential health policy think tank.

Takeover: tackling failing NHS hospitals argues that the current favoured policy of mergers between failing NHS hospitals will not work.

The report, authored by Professor Paul Corrigan, former health adviser to Tony Blair, calls for private companies and the best NHS hospitals to take over troubled hospitals because he says that is the surest way to turn them around.

‘Supporting mergers between unsuccessful NHS hospitals because you cannot find anything else to do with them is not going to suddenly make mergers a successful method of improving failing hospitals,’ said Professor Corrigan.

The report adds that forcing underperforming hospitals to merge with other underperforming hospitals will fail because it creates larger underperforming hospitals.

The paper recommends that chains of hospitals could be run by the best NHS foundation trusts and private companies, to develop centres of clinical excellence with strong brands. 

It says this would also cut costs and improve the quality of the care delivered, by spreading best practice and achieving economies of scale.

Readers' comments (1)

  • This is exactly what has been predicted all along. With cherry picking of clinical contracts by private providers, more traditional providers who try to mix providing easy services with "Cinderella" services will be deemed to be failing financially and they will be put out to tender to the private sector.
    When a critical mass of NHS care has been privatised the whole traditional sector will go under. At that point health care in England will be at the mercy of the private sector which will be able to demand whatever it likes to run the services as there will be no competition. The cartel will roll on. The tax payer will be fleeced. The investors will get fat and we will all sit back and wring our hand and ask how did it all go so wrong.
    Of course our political leaders will say this could never have been foreseen as our current crop of politicians, having strangely been installed to the boards of the private health providers grow fat on the carrion of the rotting NHS corpse.
    This is the future. I am warning everyone now. But a prophet is always without honour in his hometown.

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