Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

NHS double private patients - Burnham


Some NHS hospitals are planning to use new freedoms granted them by the coalition government to double the number of patients they treat privately this year, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham warned.

Mr Burnham said that the new freedom for hospitals in England to earn 49% of their income from private work would “damage the character and culture” of the NHS and take it closer to an American model.

He will today publish documents obtained through freedom of information requests, which he said would show some hospitals are planning to make full use of the change, which came into effect earlier this week.

At a fringe meeting hosted by the New Statesman on the eve of his keynote speech to Labour’s Manchester conference, Mr Burnham said that the government’s NHS reforms were creating a “fragmented” health system at a time when mounting pressures from an ageing population meant integration was needed.

“In this broken-down world where each hospital is on its own, making its own budgets, they are going to start using these new freedoms,” he warned.

“Already, there are hospitals that are planning to double private patients this year.

“That measure on its own will immediately change the culture of English hospitals. They will start growing into the American model of private and public. It’s a worrying thing.”

Mr Burnham said that the reforms introduced by former health secretary Andrew Lansley had already produced “random rationing and a postcode lottery running riot”.

And he said that contracts were being signed this week to take more than 300 community services out of the NHS altogether.

In a parody of a Tory election poster featuring David Cameron’s promise to protect the NHS, Mr Burnham said he may launch a poster with the PM’s face alongside the slogan: “I cut the NHS, not the deficit.”

Mr Burnham said he would oppose “to the hilt” proposals for regional pay in the NHS, which he said would lead to hospitals poaching staff from one another and drive costs up in the long run.


Readers' comments (5)

  • you have my vote

    get rid of these eton tory muppets who have no idea what the ordinary people have to do to survive

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • tinkerbell

    no longer privatisation through the back door but privatisation 'up close and personal' as waiting lists for treatments for NHS will patients increase as beds are made more and more readily available for private customers.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Private practise in the UK is limited. Very few people, as a percentage of the population, have private health care insurance.

    The only way in which NHS hospitals can increase the numbers of private patients is to enter into competition with the private hospitals an the basis of cost and quality.

    If NHS hospitals can increase their share of the limited private health care market that can only be to the benefit of NHS patients as the income(profit) has to be spent on NHS provision !

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 4-Oct-2012 5:30 am

    Has your broadband connection gone down?
    Do newspapers reach your neck of the woods?

    Do you have limited access to reality and current affairs?

    Can you get a signal on your mobile on the dark side of the moon?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 4-Oct-2012 5:30 am

    Just like all the profits from the railways was spent on keeping train fares low and improving the tracks and providing a better service for the users? What went wrong there then? Oh yes it was a disaster for common folk who were paying for the service with regular price hikes but a real money spinner for privatisation whilst that money never got put back into the service.

    Could that be because most politicians, regardless of whatever party are corrupt swindlers who are only out to line their own pockets. It's not like they had previous for it is it? Like an expenses scandal?

    Except in this instance as far as the NHS is concerned peoples lives are at stake.

    Basically we shouldn't vote for any of them because it just encourages them, but given a choice between all the evils what's left but the lesser.

    If andy burnham et al are going to try and restore the remnants of what will be left of our NHS then i will be voting for labour without a doubt.

    It will never be the same again though as too much damage has been done in such a short space of time in order for the tory spivs to make the most of their ideology before it's too late. Kerching!

    They are full of shit and corruption and they have proved it in the past 2 years, I wouldn't trust them to look after a budgie as far as i'm concerned, what more evidence could they offer that 'we are not all in it together'.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.