Private solution for failing NHS hospitals

Failing trust managers could be replaced by private ones
Failing trust managers could be replaced by private ones

The government is expected to announce its plan to hand over some failing NHS hospitals to the private sector later today.

Some of Britain's worst NHS hospitals would be taken in hand by other primary care trusts but others could find their management switched to private firms, it is believed.

Health minister Ben Bradshaw will unveil the plans later today as he publishes the new NHS performance regime.

Speaking on Channel 4 News yesterday, Mr Bradshaw said experience from other areas of the NHS showed that the private sector offers "different management skills and different techniques".

"They can also bring competition to an area which can help the National Health Service in particular areas improve its performance."

The move towards private management among Britain's 20 failing hospitals has attracted concern from unions, while the British Medical Association has also reacted with "grave concern", according to the BBC.

The NHS Confederation's policy director Nigel Edwards told the Today programme the proposals had already been attempted by former health secretary Alan Milburn around five years ago.

He said: "What it revealed I think is that the reason that hospitals tend to fail is often much more complicated and much more difficult than poor management. If it's poor management you just change the managers and generally they get better.

"Where it was tried the private sector either said, 'This is really too difficult and we think we're being set up to fail' and in the place where they did try. it didn't quite work out. The problems proved to be more intractable than that," Mr Edwards added.


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