Overseas NHS plan questioned

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NURSING leaders have criticised plans to allow NHS hospitals to expand abroad.

Plans have been suggested to set up a new body to help hospitals launch fee-paying branches overseas.

However, Glenn Turp, director of the Sunderland-based Royal College of Nursing Northern Region, said: “It’s important to remember that the core purpose of individual trust management teams is to ensure that local hospitals provide safe and high quality healthcare for local communities at home.

“The RCN has repeatedly raised concerns that the removal of the private income cap could mean foundation trusts divert their attention away from their core business, serving local communities.

“Management teams are already struggling to deliver on the Government’s demands for huge cost savings.

“They are also trying to navigate complex structural changes as clinical commissioning groups are rolled out.

“While branching out into new service areas may make financial sense for a few leading trusts, it is not a viable option for many others.”