The Centre for Health and the Public Interest (CHPI)’s report (Pounds for Patients) highlighted in the Guardian of 1/7/2019 is shocking. 400 NHS consultants owning shares in private hospitals to which they refer patients must surely expose them to irresistible pressures to refer patients to “their” hospitals whether or not this is in the patient’s interest.
The GMC’s guidance recognises this and states, “If you plan to refer a patient for investigation, treatment or care at an organisation in which you have a financial or commercial interest, you must tell the patient about that interest and make a note of this in the patient’s medical record.”
Allowing NHS waiting lists to rise so that patients opt to go privately for the financial gain of the consultant is just too great a temptation for many. Clinicians should be barred from owning shares and equipment in the private hospitals where they treat patients. Doctors cannot blame government or management for the woes of the health service without first putting their own house is in order.