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Private firms may run “failing” NHS trusts


4 June, 2008  

Plans set out today by a UK health minister, Ben Bradshaw, allow for private firms to manage hospitals deemed to be underperforming.

A document released by the Department of Health, called “Developing the NHS Performance Regime” aims to identify “failing” trusts in the National Health Service (NHS) and to remove management deemed responsible for poor performance.

Under the new system, trusts unable to improve performance within a certain timeframe on issues such as quality, safety or finance could have new bosses brought in from other parts of the NHS, NHS Foundation Trusts or the private sector.

Health Services Minister Ben Bradshaw said:

“There are still unacceptable variations in performance and a small number of NHS organisations where performance is not meeting the standards which the public and patients expect. “

“As the Prime Minister made clear in his speech in January, we will not tolerate underperformance in the NHS and for the first time, we will publicly identify those trusts with poor safety and clinical records.”

Under the new system, trusts unable to improve performance within a certain timeframe on issues such as quality, safety or finance could have new management brought in from other parts of the NHS, NHS Foundation Trusts or the private sector.

David Nicholson, Chief Executive of the NHS, said:

“There are already a number of good examples of how weaker performing trusts around the country have turned around their performance, but we want to ensure consistency and introduce a clearer and more transparent system.

“Our new vision sets out what constitutes underperformance and failure and will be a valuable tool to support NHS managers, Trusts and Health Authorities.

Department of Health