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NHS patients receiving private operations to cut costs

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NHS Patients are being sent for operations at a private hospital in Sussex because it costs less than the NHS.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust says the one-off fee charged by nearby Nuffield Hospital is less than its own overhead costs.

A ‘huge increase’ in winter admissions that have left the trust unable to cope has raised concerns with the independent NHS Federation.

Federation spokesman Paul Evans told the Brighton Argus: ‘If this is a one-off project that helps patients get timely treatment then I suppose it is understandable, but… we need to make sure that in the long-term the NHS is capable of providing the care needed for all of its patients.’

A spokeswoman for the trust said: ‘Because of a slight backlog of patients waiting to go into theatre we have the option to open at the weekends. But it’s cheaper to send them to a private hospital where there is just a one-off fee.’

A Nuffield spokesman confirmed that it had been taking on about seven NHS patients a week, but would not comment on how much their treatment costs.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • This is nothing new. Private hospitals such as Nuffield, Ramsey and BMI have been undertaking NHS operations for some time by way of contracts with the PCTs. In the East Midlands it has been known for NHS hospital operating theatres to stand empty in January as they have succesfully caught up with waiting lists and fullfilled their PCT contract. Meanwhile a local private hospital is undertaking PCT funded NHS operations. Crazy world.

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