Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Replace Our Failing Hospitals with Private Clinics, Demands CBI

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Replace Our Failing Hospitals with Private Clinics, Demands CBI

Article excerpt

Byline: BENEDICT MOORE-BRIDGER

FAILING hospitals should be closed and replaced by privately run clinicsin a radical NHS shake-up, a report claims today.

The highly influential CBI report, obtained by the Standard, calls for badlyrun health services to be shut down to improve competition and raise standardsof patient care.

As a last resort, it could mean closing entire hospitals if they fail to meetnew healthcare standards.

The report comes just before Lord Darzi's review of the NHS and will raisefears over the wholesale privatisation of the service.

Its publication also comes amid anger over the introduction of polyclinics,proposed by Lord Darzi himself.

The report, due to be published on Friday, calls for health bosses to deal withconsistently under-performing hospital departments, GPs' surgeries and clinics.

It states: "Failure in the NHSclinical and financialis not new. But until recently it has often been unspoken. Patients often feelthe need to take what they are given: often this is very good, sometimes it ispoor. This inertia in the system also prevents poor providers being driven fromthe market.

"But when underperforming providers are propped up, the NHS cannot improve."The report calls for failing services to be incorporated into successfulhospitals, and also for the introduction of privatelyrun centres within theNHS, which will increase competition and improve standards while remaining freeto patients.

A senior CBI source added: "If hospitals are rated as weak for consecutiveyears then potentially they should be shut down. We are talking aboutaddressing failing services.

"At the moment you are stuck with your provider depending on your postcode. Bybringing in new private companies, patients could chose a GP or hospital ontheir level of service. It could lead to a radical overhaul and mean fewerpeople having to go to hospitals." The recommendations will send shockwavesthrough 14 underperforming hospitals and trusts in London, which were given theworst ratingsclassified as "weak" in the most recent Healthcare Commission assessment. …

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