Deal near for 'private' hospitals in the NHS

Flagship of government scheme could contract out patient care

BY NICHOLAS TIMMINS

Public Policy Editor

Agreement to the first "flagship" scheme in which the private sector designs, builds, finances and - at least in part - runs an NHS hospital is expected to be reached by the end of the year.

The front-runners include a pounds 100m 700-bed district general hospital for Norwich, a pounds 43m hospital in Durham, and a pounds 40m 474-bed hospital in Carlisle. In the last case firms are being invited to consider running the whole hospital, including the services of doctors and nurses.

Nine projects involving pounds 300m of private-sector investment could be given the go-ahead by the end of the year, according to Newchurch, the business advisory company retained by the NHS Executive to help to develop the Government's private finance initiative.

The facilities provided will include operating theatres, wards, out-patient departments, diagnostic services and day surgery.

The drive to get private finance into the NHS has been attacked by Labour as an attempt to privatise the service, but Tom Sackville, Under-Secretary for Health, has said he sees no reason in principle why private firms should not run hospitals on contract to the NHS.

The private bidders, who include consortia formed by Tarmac, Amec, Laing and the other big construction companies, are proposing to design, build, finance, run and maintain the buildings, providing services such as catering and security. They would lease equipment such as X-ray and other imaging machines to the NHS.

The nine likely projects, with the possible exception of the Carlisle hospital, are unlikely to buy-in core services - those provided by doctors and nurses - although clinical support services such as pathology, X-ray and sterile supplies may form part of some deals.

Clive Moth, chief executive of the Carlisle NHS Trust, said handing over all clinical services to the private sector had not been ruled out. "But my personal view is that it is highly unlikely that the private sector would want to provide core clinical services or that those services are likely to be attractive to the private sector." The trust is, however, interested in clinical support services being privately provided, according to Newchurch.

Alpesh Patel, a consultant with Newchurch, said allowing the private sector to run core clinical services "is very sensitive ground. When you start talking about that, you are talking about privatising the NHS with entire hospitals being run by the private sector". No such idea was contemplated in any of the schemes, apart from Carlisle's decision not to rule it out.

The private finance initiative has brought pounds 170m of private capital into the NHS in 132 projects, but these have chiefly involved boiler houses, leased capital equipment and patient "hotels". "The sector now looks forward to the completion of the first 'flagship' scheme," Kingsley Manning, managing director of Newchurch, said.

The nine front-runners include the pounds 100m Norwich Hospital where the trust believes it should provide all clinical care but wants private sector management of all other services, according to Newchurch; a pounds 30m development at the Royal Brompton; a pounds 26m refurbishment of Bishop Auckland Hospital, Co Durham; a pounds 20m scheme at St James's in Leeds; a pounds 45m refurbishment at Swindon; a pounds 16m project at South Buckinghamshire NHS Trust; and pounds 11m for new theatres and wards at the West Middlesex Hospital.

Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm actor was just 68
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices