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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round-up of NHS and healthcare stories

Private firms on preferred bidders shortlist
The Department of Health (DoH) says five private healthcare providers have been named as the preferred bidders for contracts worth £1bn over five years to supply diagnostic procedures, such as x-rays and ultra-sound scans, to the NHS. Bob Ricketts, the DoH's head of demand-side reform said the procedures are ìcriticalî to the NHS successfully reducing waiting times to a maximum of 18 weeks from GP to treatment. The services are set to be supplied at 350 sites across England, some of which will be temporary health buildings known as ìhealth portsî into which mobile devices can be plugged. In 2004, Alliance Medical signed a £90m contract to provide 130,000 scans a year. The firm initially struggled to provide the planned number of scans and critics say the preferred bidders could be presented with logistical challenges if they win deals.

Eight hospitals gain foundation trust status
A further eight NHS hospitals have been given foundation trust status, bringing the total number of trusts operating in England to 48, according to independent regulator, Monitor. The organisation also announced that Health Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, has put forward a further 12 applications from hospitals to be assessed by Monitor. The latest trusts to achieve foundation status are: Aintree University Hospitals, Calderdale and Huddersfield, Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology, James Paget University Hospitals, Luton and Dunstable, Northumbria Healthcare, Salford Royal and Sheffield Children's.

30th September 2008

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