NHS hospitals told to make money abroad

LEADING NHS hospitals will be encouraged to launch profit-making ventures abroad to help subsidise services in the UK, the government said yesterday.

A new organisation, backed by the department of health and UK trade and investment, will seek to link prominent British hospitals – possibly including Royal Marsden and Great Ormond Street – with foreign governments who want to tap British health expertise.

No public funds will be involved, as investment for the new ventures will come from profit from the hospitals’ private work in the UK.

“The NHS has a world-class reputation, and this exciting development will make the most of that to deliver real benefits for both patients and taxpayers,” said health minister Anne Milton.

Andy Burnham, Labour’s shadow health secretary, said it was a “good idea in principle” but raised fears that it encourages NHS hospitals to take on more private work.