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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