NHS pays out £2.5m to East Lancs private hospitals

The Royal Blackburn Hospital and Burnley General have paid for patients to be treated at private hospitals

The Royal Blackburn Hospital and Burnley General have paid for patients to be treated at private hospitals

First published in East Lancashire Chorley Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Health Reporter

PRIVATE hospitals have received more than £2.5million for treating East Lancashire NHS patients since 2012, compared to just £83,000 in the previous two years.

The Royal Blackburn and Burnley General Hospitals have shelled out for hundreds of patients to be treated at the Beardwood and Gisburn Park hospitals, both run by private healthcare giant BMI.

Over the last five years, the number of NHS beds and staff have not been increased in line with the rising number of patients needing treatment, which has led to the huge increase in referrals to private care.

Figures obtained by the Lancashire Telegraph through Freedom of Information laws showed that between April 2012 and March 2014, more than £900,000 was spent on sending chronic pain patients to the BMI hospitals.

General surgery procedures accounted for about £800,000, while about £450,000 was spent on gastroenterology patients.

About £450,000 was spent on opthalomology and orthopaedic patients, while urology and head and neck patients accounted for about £50,000.

It comes as shadow health secretary Andy Burnham called on the government to halt any further ‘privatisation’ of the NHS until next year’s general election, as there should be a ‘proper debate’ about the use of private firms.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust said it had sent patients to BMI hospitals to avoid missing national targets for patients with non-urgent problems to be treated within 18 weeks.

Bosses said they worked hard to clear a backlog of patients last year, which means no patients have been referred privately since April.

Gill Simpson, divisional general manager at ELHT, said: “It is sometimes necessary to refer a small number of patients to private hospitals, for example, to ensure their treatment begins within 18 weeks.”

“Since April this year the trust has not referred any patients to private hospitals for surgery or treatment, and we are working hard to ensure we have the resources in place to maintain this situation in the future.”

A spokesman for NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, which funds the hospitals, said: “The cost of treatment, whether the patient is treated privately or by an NHS provider, is the same as this is dictated by national tariff.”

Comments (7)

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7:25pm Wed 30 Jul 14

phil kernot says...

The cat is finally out the bag if a Nhs hospital can't treat you within a reasonable amount of time you can go to any private hospital and get treated ,,, but the government will not inform the people of this because the tax payer has to pick up the bill so they should ,, that's what we pay national insurance for
The cat is finally out the bag if a Nhs hospital can't treat you within a reasonable amount of time you can go to any private hospital and get treated ,,, but the government will not inform the people of this because the tax payer has to pick up the bill so they should ,, that's what we pay national insurance for phil kernot
  • Score: 1

9:22pm Wed 30 Jul 14

noddy57 says...

Thin end of the wedge. lf the Tories had their way there would be no NHS.
Thin end of the wedge. lf the Tories had their way there would be no NHS. noddy57
  • Score: 2

11:18pm Wed 30 Jul 14

InSearchOfTheBalancedView says...

I am disappointed at the slant of this article. By omission, it suggests that the taxpayer has had to pay out a lot of money, MORE money than it would have to had the NHS hospital been able to manage its activity demands.
My question is: how much more did it cost the taxpayer? If my facts are correct (and I sure if the Lancashire Telegraph were inclined to verify through FOI or otherwise), the private hospitals referred to will have been paid no more than the NHS Trust for the operations carried out.
Therefore, there are no losers but the patients who may have been cancelled one or more times, perhaps made to wait have at last had their operations. If the patient wins and the tax payer doesn't lose - what is all the fuss about?
I am disappointed at the slant of this article. By omission, it suggests that the taxpayer has had to pay out a lot of money, MORE money than it would have to had the NHS hospital been able to manage its activity demands. My question is: how much more did it cost the taxpayer? If my facts are correct (and I sure if the Lancashire Telegraph were inclined to verify through FOI or otherwise), the private hospitals referred to will have been paid no more than the NHS Trust for the operations carried out. Therefore, there are no losers but the patients who may have been cancelled one or more times, perhaps made to wait have at last had their operations. If the patient wins and the tax payer doesn't lose - what is all the fuss about? InSearchOfTheBalancedView
  • Score: 3

11:45pm Wed 30 Jul 14

peely says...

Scandalous - this money should be kept in the NHS and spent on resources to treat patients within the NHS not keeping private hospitals going ! Private hospitals should be there to treat private patients , but the truth is without tax payer funded NHS Money they,d go bust ! Not to mention fat cat consultants trousering NHS money when they should be earning their salaries doing what the NHS pays them to do , I.e. Work at the NHS hospital . I,ve never been a great labour fan but on this subject they,re dead right !
Scandalous - this money should be kept in the NHS and spent on resources to treat patients within the NHS not keeping private hospitals going ! Private hospitals should be there to treat private patients , but the truth is without tax payer funded NHS Money they,d go bust ! Not to mention fat cat consultants trousering NHS money when they should be earning their salaries doing what the NHS pays them to do , I.e. Work at the NHS hospital . I,ve never been a great labour fan but on this subject they,re dead right ! peely
  • Score: 1

7:57am Thu 31 Jul 14

Maximus Meridius says...

Do Gill Simpson and the NHS CCG beleive we are all mentally challenged? The tariff payment may well be the same but the money does not go back in to the NHS. The end result is the lost contribution to the hospitals fixed costs.
Do Gill Simpson and the NHS CCG beleive we are all mentally challenged? The tariff payment may well be the same but the money does not go back in to the NHS. The end result is the lost contribution to the hospitals fixed costs. Maximus Meridius
  • Score: 0

6:23pm Fri 1 Aug 14

Maws3353 says...

Total sensationalist journalism. Any chance to knock the NHS and they are there. Never ever report the positives, Burnley Maternity unit won the best in Country award, didn't see any headline when this was announced.
Total sensationalist journalism. Any chance to knock the NHS and they are there. Never ever report the positives, Burnley Maternity unit won the best in Country award, didn't see any headline when this was announced. Maws3353
  • Score: 0

8:32pm Thu 7 Aug 14

InSearchOfTheBalancedView says...

Maws3353 - I totally agree. The NHS Is knocked far too often. Many NHS hospitals are well run and provide great care. That said, however, I say to Peely and Maximus Meridius, the one thing that "the fat cat" private hospitals do (if they make a profit) is pay tax. In so doing, they contribute to the coffers which pay for public services such as the NHS- unlike many NHS hospitals who need to be bailed out because of the mismanagement of their organisations. Private companies do not get the comfort of being bailed out when they fail.
Maws3353 - I totally agree. The NHS Is knocked far too often. Many NHS hospitals are well run and provide great care. That said, however, I say to Peely and Maximus Meridius, the one thing that "the fat cat" private hospitals do (if they make a profit) is pay tax. In so doing, they contribute to the coffers which pay for public services such as the NHS- unlike many NHS hospitals who need to be bailed out because of the mismanagement of their organisations. Private companies do not get the comfort of being bailed out when they fail. InSearchOfTheBalancedView
  • Score: 1

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