Fears raised over private firms’ interest in hospital takeover

THE trust that runs Warwick Hospital would be the best placed organisation to take over the George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton, a former health minister has said.

The Nuneaton site, which must be taken over or become a partner with another hospital trust or private organisation by 2014, is now in discussions with six of these - including South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Warwick Hospital, two other NHS foundation trusts and three private companies.

Mike O’Brien, who, as well as health minister, was the MP for North Warwickshire, accused the Government of “holding a shotgun” to the head of George Eliot’s hospital board. He said: “It is the National Health Service, not the national health business. A business needs to make profits - its loyalty is to its shareholders, The aim of a service is to serve - its loyalty is to its patients.”

He said South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, which has proposed to acquire the Nuneaton site within its own trust, would be the “least worrying” of the organisations interested in taking over.