NHS advertises for private managers

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Unions claimed yesterday that parts of the NHS were being sold off "like a used car" after the Department of Health advertised for private-sector managers to turn round failing hospitals.

Newspaper adverts invited "organisations and individuals from inside and outside the NHS" to join an approved register of experts who could rescue failing services.

Alan Milburn, the Secretary of State for Health, also announced new chief executives to take over four NHS trusts that are the first to have their management put out to franchise because of their past performance. Applications for this first round of franchising were restricted to existing NHS managers. But in future, bids for the management franchises will also be open to private and voluntary-sector organisations from the new list. Mr Milburn said: "Every part of the NHS should benefit from the best managerial talent. So we will draw on as wide a pool of expertise as possible."

Union leaders condemned the plans. John Edmonds, general secretary of the GMB, said: "The Government is selling off parts of our health service as if they were selling a used car. People want their hospitals run by dedicated public servants, not by fat cats after a fast buck."