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Plans for private patient unit at Basingstoke hospital
HEALTH trust bosses have unveiled plans to create a private patient unit at Basingstoke hospital in a bid to boost cash flow.
The £2million project will see 22 private beds installed on an existing, unused floor in the Diagnostic and Treatment Centre, and a new building built on land at the back of the hospital for use as a consulting room and an outpatients facility.
Mary Edwards , chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said: “There are two reasons we have taken the decision to create the unit.
“Firstly, as public sector finances are squeezed, we need new ways of making money. Secondly, the Government has recently lifted a cap which limited how much of our income could come from private patients.”
Mrs Edwards said the cap has shot up from two per cent to 49 per cent, but she stressed the foundation trust would not consider aiming for the higher level of income from private patients, adding: “We are an NHS hospital.”
It isn’t yet known how much income the unit, for patients paying privately and those with health insurance, will generate but bosses are sure it will be profitable.
All money made from the unit will be spent within the hospital. The hospital does currently treat private patients, but mainly those who are very sick or who need very specialist care, for example patients with rare cancer pseudomyxoma and with severe liver and heart problems.
This new unit will enable the hospital to treat a very wide range of patients and conditions, with inpatients being treated in existing theatres. Patients will be guaranteed a single room and will be able to choose when they get their treatment, but Mrs Edwards stressed the care received will be exactly the same as that received by NHS patients.
There will be 40 new staff employed for the private patients – a mixture of nurses and support staff such as domestic, portering, and administrative staff. At the moment, the design stage has been completed and the hospital is moving on to the planning and tendering stage. It is hoped that this work will be completed by the end of the year.