Headlines: April 22nd, 2004

Contracts awarded to Nuffield Hospitals and Capio Healthcare UK to perform almost 25,000 hip, knee and other operations for NHS patients will help towards the target of reducing waiting times for operations to six months by 2005. The cost for each operation and associated care is on a par with equivalent NHS prices. Under the contracts around 880 NHS patients in each strategic health authority will start to receive operations within weeks, in 50 independent hospitals all over the country. The service will operate from 15 Capio and 35 Nuffield sites.All staff working on these contracts will be additional to the NHS and represent an increase in capacity. Many of the doctors and nurses will be trained staff who already work in independent hospitals in England. Additional staff will come from Sweden, Ireland and other parts of Europe. All will have to be fully licensed and subject to all required UK clinical standards.