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Independent sector treatment centres 'cherry pick' patients

The government is reportedly scaling back independent sector treatment centres amid claims that they do not provide value for money.

York University research suggests the centres are seeing fewer patients from deprived areas, and that those they do see need fewer diagnoses and procedures.

Published in the journal Health Policy, the research says the centres “cherry pick” patients, leaving complex and more expensive cases to the NHS.

It says: “If treatment centres routinely treat patients with less complex needs, they may profit at the expense of NHS hospitals. If so, this would suggest that the payment system is unfair.

“If these observed differences between hospitals and treatment centres drive costs, then payments should be refined to ensure fair reimbursement.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • Surprise, surprise! The profit seekers look to maximise their takings by cherry-picking! This will only be news to those who live in the dreamworld of "privatisation".

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  • Simon Dodds

    Perhaps there is another angle. The demand for healthcare is a mixed bag. All organisations need to survive financially. Mix these two drivers and you have the recipe for both failure and success. Failure looks like carving the system into profitable-and Unprofitable chunks - and guess who is going to compete for the former and who will be saddled with the bill for latter? Success might just look like steering clear of carve-out and learning to improve both. It is possible because it has been done.

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