No evidence of ISTCs' benefit

There is no good evidence that independent sector treatment centres (ISTCs) have benefited the NHS, say UK researchers.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh say there has been a 'worrying failure' to collect data on the centres' performance, making it unclear whether ISTCs are providing either extra capacity or value for money.

They found that the DoH has failed to collect the same data from ISTCs as it does from NHS trusts, and that many centres do not collect or publish data themselves.

But David Worskett, director of the NHS Partners Network, said that the researchers had ignored evidence that showed high levels of patient satisfaction.

BMJ 2008; 336: 421-4

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