Courtesy of Charlie Cooper @ The Independent:
An NHS hospital has been forced to scrap highly rated services for patients with severe skin conditions including skin cancer after an “exodus” of senior doctors reluctant to work for a private-sector subcontractor.
Nottingham University Hospitals Trust said it would no longer be able to provide acute adult dermatology, including emergency care, after losing six of its eight consultants.
Five of those departing are understood to have left rather than transfer to Circle, a private healthcare company which won a contract to provide most of the local dermatology services last year. The closure of the service has raised concerns about the impact of privatisation on the NHS, with doctors worried about job security in the private sector.
The trust lost out to Circle, despite warnings from senior doctors that they would leave rather than be transferred out of the NHS, the Health Service Journal reported.
It is understood that the senior doctors who left were concerned over job stability at a private employer, and also had fears that a profit-driven provider would not offer opportunities for academic research or training.
The trust has said it will stop providing acute dermatology services to new patients from early next year because of a lack of consultants.
While Circle’s outpatient treatment centre will remain open, any patients with severe conditions will no longer be seen by a specialist at the hospital and may have to be referred elsewhere.
Health commissioners said they were working with the trust and Circle to ensure patients get the care they need. Circle said its Nottingham treatment centre was providing a good service, that it had taken on extra staff and would work with local commissioners to “find a solution”. Continue reading