ASSURANCES have been made that whatever the future holds for the George Eliot Hospital it will be for the best of its patients.
At the Nuneaton NHS Trust's annual general meeting, a public question time session saw chairman Stuart Annan fielding queries and concerns over possible moves towards privatisation.
The hospital boss confirmed to the assembled gathering at the Trust’s Education and Training Centre that nothing was set in stone and that, whether the Trust forms a strategic partnership with the NHS or a private sector franchise to achieve Foundation Trust status, it would be for the best reasons.
Mr Annan also stressed that any link with the private sector would not affect the fact that the hospital is part of the National Health Service.
One woman asked that, of the six bids so far, three from the NHS and three from the private sector, what would, say an engineer, know about providing healthcare?
Comparisons were also made to the G4S private company security fiasco ahead of the Olympic Games and Hinchingbrooke in Cambridgeshire, which became the first NHS hospital to be operated by a private partner, Circle, in February.
Despite being £40m in debt, Circle will take at least the first £2m in profits every year. The company is one of the private groups interested in the George Eliot.
Mr Annan said that the private sector had a completely different set of skills than the NHS which could help.
He added: “The NHS cannot be privatised, the staff would remain members of the NHS. It would be a management contract essentially, watch this space, but nothing is being done behind closed doors, people can join in and give us their views.
“There are some that take the moral stance that it has to be NHS. I go on the evidence and that it’s not going to impact on patients.”