Nick Boles hits out in NHS privatisation row

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MP for Grantham Nick Boles has hit out at health commissioners for their “ideological prejudice” in a row over private companies taking on NHS services.

Mr Boles was speaking at the official opening of Renal Services (UK) Ltd’s new dialysis service based at Newton House in Barrowby Road.

Mr Boles praised the private company for taking on the NHS contract but revealed not everyone is happy as evidence has reached him that some health commissioners locally are refusing to send people to the new facility.

Mr Boles said: “I’m very encouraged this place has been set up in Grantham. It is great for the people of Grantham and the surrounding area who need dialysis.

“However, I am troubled to learn not all of the commissioners are being as broad-minded as they should be in commissioning services from what is a private supplier.

“I have heard someone had to go all the way to Skegness because the commissioner would not agree to take the service here. That’s a cost of more than £100 in taxi fares.

“It is an ideological prejudice that has no place in the health service.”

Mr Boles met with patients during a visit to the new renal unit. He was met by company chairman Tom Sackville - formerly a health minister under Margaret Thatcher.

Mr Sackville said Renal Services (UK) had realised there was a lack of service in the Grantham area.

He said: “Looking at the map there was a clear gap that has now been filled.

“I hope, over time, all the patients near this unit will be referred by their doctors.

“It is the nearest unit and it is a very high quality unit.”

Mr Boles says the new Grantham service is good news for patients who will no longer face regular drives across the county for their dialysis treatment. After meeting patients undergoing treatment at the Barrowby Road unit, he said: “The patients here today seem very happy with the service.”

Mr Boles added: “This is a service for people in a very difficult situation and a difficult point in their lives.

“What to me seems obvious is patients should be able to choose the facilities most convenient to them which offers the level of service and professionalism of service you would expect, especially for people who may require five or six days of treatment.”

There are currently 15 patients receiving treatment at the unit, which has a capacity of 36.