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Failing NHS trusts run by firms

4th June 2008

NHS hospitals and trusts in England that struggle to perform could be taken over by bosses from the private sector.

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The government has announced moves where company executives, or from better performing NHS trusts, could be brought in to replace existing health chiefs.

It is one of a range of options that are being looked at to try to improve performance in the NHS.

However, ministers have stressed that no NHS staff or assets will be transferred to the private sector with private firms mainly providing management services.

The government publishes its new criteria for quality, safety and financial performance in October.

All NHS trusts in England will have to meet those standards, however at this stage it is predicted that about 20 trusts regarded as weak by the Healthcare Commission are not likely to meet these.

Health Minister Ben Bradshaw said the most likely scenario was that managers from other NHS trusts would take over.

But he added: ‚ÄúThere may be examples where no NHS hospital is interested in taking over a failing hospital, or where local NHS managers think that in order to have more competition and choice for people locally that bringing in a private manager on a franchise arrangement will be the most sensible idea.‚Ä?

The BMA warned the scheme could lead to fragmentation within the NHS.

Professor Allyson Pollock from the Centre for International Public Health Policy at the University of Edinburgh said the move would ‚Äúsimply accelerate the process of privatisation of services‚Ä? and be bad for patients.

 

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