News

NHS paid private sector £217m for operations that never took place

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d3277 (Published 24 May 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3277
  1. David Payne
  1. 1BMJ

The NHS paid private sector treatment centres £217m (€250m; $350m) for routine operations that never took place, with millions of pounds more swallowed up buying back premises and compensating providers for cancelled contracts, show figures from the Department of Health.

Independent sector treatment centres (ISTCs) were introduced by the Labour government in 2003 to cut waiting times for elective surgery and improve choice for patients.

But a study by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism that was based on requests made to the health department under freedom of information …

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