Private deal agreed for NHS patients

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A SERIES of short-term deals to send NHS patients to private hospitals has been agreed.

NHS Lothian will spend more than £4.3 million in the next three months to treat 2177 people who need inpatient and day treatment.

The cash is part of a wider £27m spend in the current financial year, aimed at reducing waiting times while investing in more capacity and staffing levels.

Details of the agreements were revealed by the health board, which published a transparency notice through Public Contracts Scotland.

Spire Healthcare, which runs the Spire Murrayfield Hospital, will receive the bulk of the cash, with £3.7m of work being awarded to the company.

The Edinburgh Clinic will receive £334,000, while BMI Healthcare, which runs Ross Hall Hospital in Glasgow, won a £250,000 contract.

Nuffield Health will be paid £100,000 for treating Lothian patients in Glasgow.

Unions have previously criticised NHS Lothian’s extensive use of the private sector, while the health board has argued it is necessary to treat patients in the short term.