Choose NHS not private or you’ll undermine local NHS hospitals

Posted on: 4th July 2013

West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, is calling on local patients to choose local NHS hospitals at Penzance, St Michael’s and Treliske when offered a choice of provider for surgical, diagnostic and other procedures rather than alternative private companies.

He is warning that if patients choose private hospitals and companies local NHS services will be undermined and the future of local hospitals put in jeopardy.

Mr George raised these issues with the Health Secretary in the Health Select Committee this week.

Mr George said, “There is gathering evidence that private health companies are ‘cherry picking’ some of the potentially more profitable routine diagnostic, surgical and other referrals. Although I understand why many patients will be seduced to attend consultations with private companies – because they can have audiology tests in a convenient high street shop, or because the private hospital can offer an earlier consultation – but every patient who chooses private over core NHS potentially undermines the future of our NHS services and hospitals.

“I’ve raised questions about the potential conflicts of interest amongst many clinicians who both work for RCHT and also undertake NHS work for a private company provider. It is not just this risk, but the risk to the very future of much loved and valued hospitals like St Michaels that could be put in jeopardy if the drift of patients from NHS to private continues.”

Mr George has asked the Health Secretary to make sure that the tariff system reflects the higher costs to NHS hospitals of taking on the more complex and challenging case mix and more expensive on-costs than private hospitals are prepared to take on.

Mr George has told RCHT Chief, Lezli Boswell, that he is strongly supporting the RCHT as it faces increasing competition for its services in future.



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