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Wednesday, 8 May, 2002, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Managers take over 'failing' hospitals
Barnet and Chase Farm NHS Trust
Chase Farm: one of four failing NHS trusts
Senior NHS managers have officially taken charge of four failing hospital trusts in England.

Health Secretary Alan Milburn announced the appointment of new chief executives at the four trusts on Wednesday.


People want their hospitals run by dedicated public servants, not by fat cats after a fast buck

John Edmonds, GMB union
The appointments came as the Department of Health advertised for organisations and individuals outside the NHS to join a register from which future appointments to run failing trusts will be made.

The new chief executives, all of whom have worked in the NHS before, have been charged with turning around the trusts which each received a "no star" rating in league tables published last year.

Some have been working in a temporary capacity since the beginning of the year.

'Franchised out'

The move follows the government's decision to "franchise out" the running of those NHS hospitals, which have failed to improve patient services.

The hospitals affected are:

  • Ashford and St Peter's NHS Trust
  • Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust
  • Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Barnet and Chase Farm NHS Trust, London

    Health Secretary Alan Milburn said: "Patients at these trusts will benefit from sustained improvements in performance based on action plans which have addressed the specific weaknesses identified at these trusts.

    "This is a further step in the process of bringing the performance of all NHS organisations up to the standards of the best."

    Register

    The Department of Health placed advertisements in national newspapers on Wednesday inviting organisations and individuals outside the health service to apply to join a register from which future appointments to failing hospitals will be made.

    The adverts state: "The government is establishing a register from which experts from the NHS and from the public, voluntary and private sectors may be drawn to compete for franchises to run NHS organisations and trusts."

    However, the move has come in for criticism from the leader of the fourth largest trade union in the country.

    John Edmonds, general secretary of the GMB, said: "What have things come to when the government is selling off parts of our health service as if they were selling a used car?

    "People want their hospitals run by dedicated public servants, not by fat cats after a fast buck."

  • See also:

    25 Sep 01 | NHS Performance 2001
    Star ratings handed to hospitals
    25 Sep 01 | NHS Performance 2001
    'No surprises' among bad hospitals
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