Waiting time difference (Neil Sutherland)

Since the introduction of the original 24-month waiting time limit in the 1990s to the current 12-week waiting time guarantee the NHS has used a combination of private sector providers, charities and the expansion of directly provided NHS.

However, the philosophy behind the use of the private sector is now different across all four parts of the UK.

Over the seven-year period highlighted in last week’s letters page may have been £0.485 billion it only represents 0.6 per cent of the total NHS budget in Scotland in that period of just under £78 billion.

Locally NHS Grampian spent £6.3 million in 2012-13 and is now reacting to this by spending £16 million in expanding theatre capacity in Aberdeen.

In England shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, who among his last acts as health secretary privatised the Hinchingbrooke Hospital, recently highlighted that private sector spending has gone through the £10 billion barrier.

The Department of Health confirmed that when Labour left office spending in England on the private sector annually was 1.6 per cent of the annual budget but now under the Liberal Democrat/Conservative coalition government this now stands at six per cent.

In contrast in Scotland the previous privatisation under the stewardship of Liberal Democrat/Labour coalition government of regional treatment centre at Stracathro Hospital run by Netcare UK was brought back in to full NHS control.

Neil Sutherland
2 Guddataing,


Add Your Comment
  • John Tulloch

    • August 27th, 2014 13:22

    Surely, what matters is that high quality care should be available at the point of delivery I.e. patients, not that NHS-provided services be treated like some sort of nationalised sacred cow?

    Many Shetlanders have had operations in private hospitals under the NHS and if Aberdeen are extending their NHS facilities to compete with private hospitals, that’s great, not least, because costs and success rates can be compared and if the NHS hospitals do better, they will be the ones who should get the business.

    Shutting out private hospitals will not make the NHS improve because it will remain a monopoly, doing the ungrateful public a favour on the taxpayer, as opposed to being a vibrant, progressive concern, in competition with private hospitals on quality of care and cost.

    Nothing wrong with nationalised hospitals, provided they can earn their keep but let’s not have any “sacred cows”.

  • Charles L. Gallagher

    • September 7th, 2014 0:07

    John, you should take a trip to the USA and see which of their ‘public’ or ‘private’ hospitals you would rather receive treatment and then answer. You seem to imply that you put profit before “CARE” just like the American Healthcare system.

    • John Tulloch

      • September 7th, 2014 18:44

      I have no knowledge of the welfare hospital system in America, however, I have personal experience of their private hospitals and medical care which was of a very high standard, indeed.

      What is important in this country is that high quality care is available free, at the point of delivery and there is no reason why public and private organisations cannot compete for NHS business. If private care is poorer than public care or more costly, they won’t get the business.

      And don’t forget, private companies have to pay Corporation Tax, shareholders also pay tax on their dividends and pension funds invest in them, after which pensioners also pay tax on their pensions.

      Which means more money for social programmes.


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