The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is set to expand across the world this autumn for profit.
The Government wants big hospitals like Great Ormond Street children’s hospital and Moorfields Eye Hospital to sell their services abroad, by setting up clinics overseas featuring the NHS brand, reports The Independent.
The Department of Health and the UK Trade and Investment department will work together to help hospitals expand overseas.
The idea is that income generated from the NHS-branded clinics abroad will help fund hospitals back in the UK.
An official from the UK Trade and Investment department said: "We have been slow to realise what an asset we've got in the NHS. Some of our brands such as Great Ormond Street and Moorfields are world leaders, but in the past we have perhaps been too insular in not thinking about how we can exploit what we've got.”
Health minister Anne Milton said: “This is good news for NHS patients, who will get better services at their local hospital as a result of the work the NHS is doing abroad and the extra investment that will generate.
"This is also good news for the economy, which will benefit from the extra jobs and revenue created by our highly successful life sciences industries as they trade more across the globe.
"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."
Government plans have been opposed by the Patients Association, however.
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, added: "The guiding principle of the NHS must be to ensure that outcomes and care for patients comes before profits.
"At a time of huge upheaval in the health service, when waiting times are rising and trusts are being asked to make £20 billion of efficiency savings, this is another concerning distraction. The priority of the government, hospital trusts and clinicians should be NHS patients.”
The Department of Health’s board is reported to be recruiting an MD, with a salary of £100,000, to help encourage NHS Trusts to expand abroad.
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