Trust accused of highlighting long NHS waits to promote its private hospital

HSJ has reported that Royal United Hospitals Bath Foundation Trust has been accused of promoting its private hospital by highlighting the long NHS waiting times which it is supposed to be addressing. The concerns surround a marketing campaign produced by Sulis Hospital Bath, which Royal United Hospitals Bath Foundation Trust acquired from Circle Health Group in 2021, under an unusual ownership arrangement.

Sulis Hospital Bath posted an advert on its Twitter account which said: “Why wait for surgery?” . Neil Orpan, a local spinal surgeon who works in the private sector and first highlighted concerns about the advert on Twitter, said: “I don’t object to NHS hospitals offering private surgery and care – I don’t agree to them advertising to the patients on their own waiting list and encouraging them to pay for surgery when they can manage and dictate how long those waiting lists are.”

His concerns were supported by patient lobby group Healthwatch England and think tank the Centre for Health and the Public Interest, which has long raised concerns about equity of access, and private healthcare, after they were contacted by HSJ.

Full story in The HSJ, 17 February 2023

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