Health minister Ben Bradshaw has announced three more independent sector treatment centres (ISTCS) in Manchester and Southampton. The Department of Health’s announcement says that these are expected to provide over 1.5 million contracted procedures and outpatient consultations, including general surgery, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, and diagnostics. The centres will cost £385 million over the next seven years.

The three are part of Wave 2 of the ISTC programme, which underwent a significant review during which over half proposed ISTCs were cancelled. The Department has just published its framework scheme to comensate companies which had been appointed as preferred bidders. The announcement also included the significant news that any future ISTCs after Wave 2 will be commissioned locally.

ISTCs are privately-owned organisations. Previously commissioned nationally by the Department of Health, ISTCs specialise in high-throughput low-complexity surgery such as cateracts, joint replacement and diagnostics, and their start-up costs are subsidised by payment rates above the national NHS tariff rate. Critics of ISTCs complain that they remove profitable work from local NHS hospitals, financially destabilising them, and point out that the ISTC ‘take or pay’ had resulted in PCTs paying for operations they did not need or use. Supporters argue that they increase capacity and patient choice.

Private involvement in the NHS
Announcing the decision, Mr Bradshaw said: “The independent sector is providing NHS patients with fast access to high quality treatment and diagnostic services, offering greater choice, driving down waiting times and galvanising the NHS to raise its game. We are committed to independent sector involvement in the NHS where it meets local needs, offers value for money and benefits local patients. It is right that in future the local NHS will commission independent sector providers, to ensure faster procurement of services that reflect local needs."

David Highton of Clinicenta, one of the private firms involved, commented, "we welcome the enhanced local ownership of the schemes that this development will bring and believe we can deliver a service that will exceed NHS sponsors expectations".

However, Dr Jonathan Fielden, chairman of the BMA’s consultants committee said in a statement, “There has been substantial evidence showing that ISTCs do not offer value for money and can destabilise local health services, yet the government has ignored the evidence and proceeded with its delayed programme.

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Health minister Ben Bradshaw has announced three more independent sector treatment centres (ISTCS) in Manchester and Southampton. The Department of Health’s announcement says that these are expected to provide over 1.5 million contracted procedures and outpatient consultations, including general surgery, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, and diagnostics. The centres will cost £385 million over the next seven years.

The three are part of Wave 2 of the ISTC programme, which underwent a significant review during which over half proposed ISTCs were cancelled. The Department has just published its framework scheme to comensate companies which had been appointed as preferred bidders. The announcement also included the significant news that any future ISTCs after Wave 2 will be commissioned locally.

ISTCs are privately-owned organisations. Previously commissioned nationally by the Department of Health, ISTCs specialise in high-throughput low-complexity surgery such as cateracts, joint replacement and diagnostics, and their start-up costs are subsidised by payment rates above the national NHS tariff rate. Critics of ISTCs complain that they remove profitable work from local NHS hospitals, financially destabilising them, and point out that the ISTC ‘take or pay’ had resulted in PCTs paying for operations they did not need or use. Supporters argue that they increase capacity and patient choice.

Private involvement in the NHS
Announcing the decision, Mr Bradshaw said: “The independent sector is providing NHS patients with fast access to high quality treatment and diagnostic services, offering greater choice, driving down waiting times and galvanising the NHS to raise its game. We are committed to independent sector involvement in the NHS where it meets local needs, offers value for money and benefits local patients. It is right that in future the local NHS will commission independent sector providers, to ensure faster procurement of services that reflect local needs."

David Highton of Clinicenta, one of the private firms involved, commented, "we welcome the enhanced local ownership of the schemes that this development will bring and believe we can deliver a service that will exceed NHS sponsors expectations".

However, Dr Jonathan Fielden, chairman of the BMA’s consultants committee said in a statement, “There has been substantial evidence showing that ISTCs do not offer value for money and can destabilise local health services, yet the government has ignored the evidence and proceeded with its delayed program

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Health minister Ben Bradshaw has announced three more independent sector treatment centres (ISTCS) in Manchester and Southampton. The Department of Health’s announcement says that these are expected to provide over 1.5 million contracted procedures and outpatient consultations, including general surgery, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, and diagnostics. The centres will cost £385 million over the next seven years.

The three are part of Wave 2 of the ISTC programme, which underwent a significant review during which over half proposed ISTCs were cancelled. The Department has just published its framework scheme to comensate companies which had been appointed as preferred bidders. The announcement also included the significant news that any future ISTCs after Wave 2 will be commissioned locally.

ISTCs are privately-owned organisations. Previously commissioned nationally by the Department of Health, ISTCs specialise in high-throughput low-complexity surgery such as cateracts, joint replacement and diagnostics, and their start-up costs are subsidised by payment rates above the national NHS tariff rate. Critics of ISTCs complain that they remove profitable work from local NHS hospitals, financially destabilising them, and point out that the ISTC ‘take or pay’ had resulted in PCTs paying for operations they did not need or use. Supporters argue that they increase capacity and patient choice.

Private involvement in the NHS
Announcing the decision, Mr Bradshaw said: “The independent sector is providing NHS patients with fast access to high quality treatment and diagnostic services, offering greater choice, driving down waiting times and galvanising the NHS to raise its game. We are committed to independent sector involvement in the NHS where it meets local needs, offers value for money and benefits local patients. It is right that in future the local NHS will commission independent sector providers, to ensure faster procurement of services that reflect local needs."

David Highton of Clinicenta, one of the private firms involved, commented, "we welcome the enhanced local ownership of the schemes that this development will bring and believe we can deliver a service that will exceed NHS sponsors expectations".

However, Dr Jonathan Fielden, chairman of the BMA’s consultants committee said in a statement, “There has been substantial evidence showing that ISTCs do not offer value for money and can destabilise local health services, yet the government has ignored the evidence and proceeded with its delayed program