NHS has been 'put up for sale': Labour accuses Government over possible sell-off district general hospital

 

The NHS has been “put up for sale” by the Coalition government, Labour have claimed, as it emerged that the Department of Health has approved the possible sell-off a district general hospital.

Board papers published by the NHS Development Authority (NDTA) show that the George Eliot Hospital in Warwickshire could be acquired by another NHS trust or “a franchise that may be a non-NHS organisation”.

If the hospital were acquired by a private company it would become the second in two years, after the Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust was taken over by Circle Health in February last year.

The Health Service Journal reported that the Department of Health had been willing to see the trust begin a process that could lead to franchising, but was awaiting approval from the Treasury, which has now been granted.

Andy Burnham, Labour's shadow health secretary said that the decision represented “privatisation driven from the top”.

“Everywhere you look, chunks of the NHS are being broken up and handed to the private sector. With this announcement, it is now proceeding at a pace and scale never seen before,” he said.

“Ministers have spent all year running down the NHS and their real intent is becoming increasing clear - preparing the ground for more privatisation.

”Far from doctors deciding, this is privatisation driven from the top down. David Cameron needs to be reminded he's never been given the permission of the British public to put the NHS up for sale.“

The NDTA report, authored by the organisation's director of delivery and development, Dale Bywater, said it would be ”prudent“ for services to commence with a new ”strategic partner“ at the George Eliot on 1 April 2015.

Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, last year became the first in the history of the NHS to be run by a private company. The Circle Partnership pledged to turn around the failing 223-bed trust, which was £40m in debt. The trust received high scores in recent patient feedback tests.

The George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust provides hospital and community services for around 300,000 patients. The trust has been seeking a partner ”via a competitive procurement process“ for several months.

According to the HSJ, several organisations have indicated an interest in running the George Eliot, including Circle Health, Serco and Care UK as well as other local NHS trusts.

Mr Burnham has also written to the health secretary Jeremy Hunt, after it was reported that a multi-million pound contract to treat NHS patients with brain tumours was awarded to healthcare giant Hospital Corporation of America International (HCA), which has donated money to the Conservative party. Mr Burnham has asked to know what contact ministers had with HCA, which has donated at least £17,000 to the Conservative party since they came to power.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust has been given approval to seek a partner to ensure that sustainable and high quality care is available for local patients in the future.  This will now be considered at a NHS Trust Development Authority board meeting and the Trust will decide how they move forward following this.”

“What is most important is that patients at George Eliot Hospital can access sustainable, high quality care and treatment for years to come. No decision has yet been made and this process is open to both NHS and non-NHS organisations. The Trust will choose the best solution for local patients.

“The successful bidder will be subject to the same rigorous regulation from the Care Quality Commission as other hospitals. They must also continue to improve patient care, and will be accountable to the hospital board, staff and patients they serve for doing so.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Lawyer - Cheshire

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...

    Austen Lloyd: Residential Property Solicitor - Hampshire

    Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...

    Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

    £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

    Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor

    £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
    Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

    24-Hour party person

    Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
    Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

    A taste for rebellion

    US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
    Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

    Colouring books for adults

    How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
    Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
    Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

    Call me Ed Mozart

    Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
    10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
    Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
    'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

    'I am a paedophile'

    Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
    Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

    From a lost deposit to victory

    Green Party on the march in Bristol
    Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

    Winter blunderlands

    Putting the grot into grotto
    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

    London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital