Expanding private healthcare in NHS hospitals could be “galling” for nurses and lead to conflict, a union leader has warned.
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The government has said it will lift the cap that prevents many foundation trusts from significantly expanding the number of private patients they treat.
Unison, which has campaigned against the cap being lifted, fears the change will mean more private patients are treated in NHS hospitals.
The union’s head of health Karen Jennings said: “Allowing hospitals to generate more money from private patients could undermine the very foundations of the NHS.
“Nurses will always act professionally. However, some may find it galling to work in a two tier system, where people with deeper pockets jump the queue.”
“In hospitals with more private patients, there is a danger that the relationship between nurses and patients will change, leading to conflict. When someone has paid, they may feel that they have the right to priority attention.”