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Overseas companies could run NHS hospitals, emails reveal

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d5666 (Published 06 September 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d5666
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Up to 20 NHS hospitals in England might be run by overseas companies, a series of emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act has shown.

The organisation Spinwatch obtained the exchange of emails, which disclose that Ian Dalton, managing director for provider development at the Department of Health, had discussed with the consultants McKinsey and Company the possibility of “international hospital provider groups” being recruited to improve the performance of English hospitals.

Summarising the discussion, an email from McKinsey said that there was “interest in a new solution for 10-20 hospitals” but that this needed to be done “one at a time” because of various political constraints. The consultants suggested that contracts would be possible if hospitals’ revenue was at least £500m (€570m; $805m) and that any international company would need “a free hand on staff management.” …

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