Warrington NHS Trust Cancels ‘Privatisation From Within’ Plan

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Junior doctors on the march to defend the NHS. UK workers will not accept NHS privatisation

THE WARRINGTON and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been forced by an enormous outburst of mass anger to cancel a scheme allowing patients to pay for treatment.

Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had been accused of ‘disgraceful’ privatisation for trying to charge £18,000 for hip replacements.

This rationing of NHS treatment means the thresholds for some operations have grown higher and people may be expected to live with severe pain before qualifying to get the ops for free.

The hospital trust, near Liverpool, had a price list on its website offering paying customers various operations which they didn’t qualify for as an NHS patient.

A photo of a poster about ‘self-funded procedures’ was also posted online causing a massive outcry against hospitals charging for what was once-free treatment.

The hospital trust itself said its treatments were ‘affordable’ and the ‘majority’ of other NHS hospitals do the same thing.

Yesterday, the trust said it has ‘paused the availability’ of the service, which it would review.

This list of procedures published by The Mirror shows an upper limit of more than £18,000 for joint replacement operations.

A spokesperson said in a statement: ‘To date, no NHS patients have been impacted as no one has been treated as part of the My Choice service.’

A list of 45 paid-for procedures had been available on the website of the trust, which runs Warrington Hospital and Halton General Hospital in Cheshire.

Among them were a knee replacement from £7,179; cataract surgery costing upwards of £1,624; and hip replacement revision surgery for more than £8,447.

A separate list published by The Mirror showed upper prices of £18,143 for knee or hip replacement operations and £7,777 for bunion removal.

Chair of campaign group Keep Our NHS Public, Tony Sullivan, said: ‘There are many ways the tentacles of private interests envelop our health service.

‘But this rationing of access to health care on the NHS is one of the most blatant ploys. It’s simply disgraceful.’

He called the My Choice service ‘privatisation from within’.

Anna Athow Deputy Chair of the London Region BMA told News Line: ‘Clinical Commissioning Groups have been drawing up lists of operations that can no longer be performed on the NHS for some time.

‘The NHS Long Term plan says procedures of low clinical effectiveness must not be performed.

‘Tell that to the people of Warrington, who held a large demonstration outside Runcorn Town Hall, to protest against a huge price list of operations you can pay for at Warrington and Halton NHS Foundation Trust.

‘This list includes life changing operations, like total hip replacements and many others, with the expectation that patients will be forced to pay, as the NHS waiting list now tops four million.

‘Since the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, foundation trusts can collect 49% of their income from private patients.

‘There has to be national action by the unions to put an end to this government and bring in a workers government to restore the NHS to full public ownership.’