Beds, Herts & Bucks

Lister Surgicentre: Facility bought by NHS for £53m

Lister Surgicentre in Stevenage
Image caption Three people died at Surgicentre following routine surgery

A privately-run NHS hospital where three patients died after routine surgery is to come under NHS control, clinic bosses have confirmed.

The Surgicentre, based at the Lister Hospital in Stevenage, provides routine operations.

It will be bought by the Department of Health for £53m and services will transfer to East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust.

Hospital operators Carillion said the transfer was by "mutual agreement".

Services at the Surgicentre are currently provided and managed by a subsidiary of building company Carillion called Clinicenta.

It provides routine surgery in areas such as ear, nose and throat, trauma, orthopaedics, gynaecology and ophthalmology for NHS patients referred there.

In April last year, Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors failed the centre in four out of five areas and the following August, GPs were told not to refer patients to the eye department because of worrying waiting times.

Three people undergoing routine surgery for joint conditions died unexpectedly, sparking investigations by Hertfordshire NHS and the CQC.

'No break'

NHS Central Eastern Commissioning Support Unit said the decision to transfer services was an agreement between the Department of Health, East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS England and Clinicenta.

"There will be no break in service during the transfer and patients who are currently receiving treatment at the Surgicentre should continue to attend their appointments in the usual way," a statement said.

The NHS said its priority was to "ensure patient care is not affected".

Carillion would not comment on losing the contract but in a statement confirmed an agreement had been made.

Clinicenta managing director, Mike Hobbs, said: "There will be no break in service provision and the NHS will retain the Lister Surgicentre buildings and equipment for continued use."

He added staff would now be consulted about how the transfer should proceed and the impact of the changes.

The transfer is likely to take place over the next few weeks on a date to be finalised.

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