The BBC reports today that at least ten hospitals in
England could be facing closure or a downgraded role. On the same day,
the Department of Health in England has announced six new privately
financed NHS hospital developments.
Commenting on the possible closures, Dr Jonathan Fielden, deputy chairman
of the British Medical Association's consultants committee, said:
“ We have to ask whether some of these hospitals and services
are facing closure solely for short term financial reasons rather than
the best interests of patients. Finance is a blunt tool for reorganising
any service. Reorganisation should be based on evidence that it will
improve patient care, and should follow widespread consultation with
clinicians and the public. Only then will we rebuild the trust required
to prove that change is not just about balancing the books. ”
“ It is ironic that news of these possible closures has
emerged on the day we learn that there are to be six new PFI schemes.
seems more than willing to spend large sums of money in private sector
deals, which have been shown on repeated occasions to offer poor value
and can leave hospitals heavily in debt for decades. There are better
and cheaper ways to finance improvements. The future of these hospitals
is being mortgaged while private providers make profits from the NHS.
We are seeing NHS facilities mothballed and closed and dedicated staff
being made redundant at a time when private companies are profiting
from PFI deals and poorly performing Independent Sector Treatment Centres.
This is further evidence of the lack of coherence of government policy.
Why strip out assets from the public sector and hand them over to the
private sector unless you are determined to privatise the NHS ? ”