Private hospital planned to delay NHS operations to boost income

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 25 July 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e5033
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

The Department of Health for England has been forced to intervene after a private hospital that treats NHS patients told doctors to delay operations booked through the NHS Choose and Book scheme so that more patients would opt to pay for their operations privately.

Consultants at BMI Healthcare’s Meriden Hospital in Coventry were instructed by Bernie Creaven, its chief executive, to introduce a delay of four weeks from when they see a patient in the outpatient department to when they operate on them. The delay would be gradually extended to eight weeks from September, she said.

The reason she gave was that there was not enough “differentiation” between NHS and private patients and that this was …

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