Millions spent on private health centres that are failing to meet targets

Private health centres are being paid tens of millions of pounds by the NHS for operations that are not being carried out.

Hardly any of the independent centres set up under generous contracts are meeting their targets, an investigation by Health Service Journal has found. But they still get paid, unlike NHS hospitals, which are paid on the basis of how many operations they do.

The 20 centres were open by March. Information gathered by the journal from public documents, freedom of information requests and parliamentary answers indicates that so far they are doing only 59 per cent of the operations for which they are contracted.

Private centres 'waste NHS millions': New operation surgeries are accused of missing their targets and diverting important resources (The Times, 25 September 2006)