Having now been told in writing by the Government that no Independent Sector Treatment Centre (ISTC) for Basildon would go ahead against the wishes of the local NHS, and having recently met with SW Essex Primary Care Trust (PCT) and been informed of their decision to oppose the idea, John Baron MP has said that the proposal for an ISTC for Basildon has now effectively been killed off. John and Basildon Hospital have long argued that such a scheme would disrupt existing NHS services, undermine staff training, and threaten patient choice. Now the plans appear to have been blocked.
Commenting, John said:
“Given that a Government letter to me has clearly stated that an ISTC will not be imposed on Basildon against the wishes of the local NHS, and now that both SW Essex PCT and Basildon Hospital have come out against it, a local ISTC is now dead in the water.”
“Major changes to the health service cannot proceed without the support of the local NHS and residents. I have therefore written to the Government reminding them of their promise and asking them to confirm that plans for an ISTC for Basildon have now been shelved.”
“I welcome the PCT’s decision to oppose an independent hospital in Basildon. Our existing NHS Hospital would suffer a drain of resources if a new hospital was set up next door. This would have bad effect on training budgets, planning, and cross-subsidy of services.”
“The ISTC project has been subject to secret negotiations between the Government and a private provider, with local patients and the NHS kept in the dark. There were many unanswered questions about who would pay the bill if patient numbers fell below the level agreed between Whitehall and the private sector. My concern was always that local services would suffer as a result.”