Private health providers were waiting anxiously for the results of an official review of independent sector treatment centres as HSJ went to press

Primary care trusts and private providers had been told that the Department of Health would complete its review of the viability of up to 15 new wave-two independent treatment and diagnostic centres by the end of October.

Doubts over use of wave-one ISTCs have led to significant down-sizing and created uncertainty among firms over the future of the scheme. South African company Netcare - preferred bidder for two clinical assessment, treatment and support schemes in Greater Manchester and Cumbria - is now considering pulling out, sources in the North West said.

Netcare head of primary care relations Nigel Jones told HSJ he was 'unable to confirm' what the company's position was.