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NHS: Independent Sector Treatment Centres

Volume 685: debated on Monday 9 October 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps are being taken to ensure independent sector treatment centres (ISTCs) carry out the number of operations and procedures for which contracts have been awarded; and whether the ban on National Health Service nurses working in ISTCs will be lifted.[HL7296]

The Department of Health monitors and oversees the operation of the independent sector treatment centre (ISTC) contracts, supporting the work of local contract managers responsible for each contract. The department works closely with providers and local National Health Service stakeholders to ensure the utilisation of capacity purchased. Providers are required to provide monthly reports on activity allowing action to be taken to address any shortfalls.

In relation to wave 1 ISTC contracts, no currently employed NHS nurses (or anyone who in the previous six months was employed by the NHS) can be recruited by independent sector providers.

For phase 2 ISTC contracts clinical staff including nurses will be allowed to offer their non-contracted hours to independent sector providers subject to the approval of their NHS employer and that the use of this non-contracted time is consistent with patient safety.

In addition to this ISTC schemes that involve a transfer of activity from the NHS to an independent sector provider already allow nurses to work in ISTCs through secondment or retention of employment arrangements.