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Public’s views canvassed on options for private health

Monday, 29 April 2019

A public consultation launched today (29 April) will help shape the future of private healthcare in the Isle of Man. It is available on the government consultation hub.

The seven week consultation is the latest stage in a major review of current and future private health services at Noble's Hospital. Feedback is invited from members of the public, professional bodies, local businesses and other organisations with ideas about the type of private facility and services which would best suit the Isle of Man.

People who have used private healthcare are asked their views on the service they received from medical staff, patient facilities and accommodation, and whether their treatment and care offered value for money. Those who haven't used private health services in the past are invited to rate factors which might persuade them to seek it in future, while the survey also gauges interest in private services not currently offered at Noble's.

Health and Social Care Minister David Ashford said:

'We're close to finalising this part of the restructure process having considered with an open mind how best to run private medical services in the future. Three main options have been fully explored: forming a partnership with a third party provider, continuing to run private services in-house, or outsourcing the operation, in whole or in part.

'There's been little change in the private ward since it opened in 2003 so the facility itself has to be substantially upgraded. But we're also looking for long-term growth in private medical services so a thorough, high level review has been crucial.'

He added:

'I encourage everyone interested in shaping the future of private healthcare to fill in the consultation questionnaire and share their views, to ensure this landmark project progresses in line with the needs and expectations of the population.'

The private patients unit (PPU) closed in January 2019 on a temporary basis. A full refurbishment will be commissioned to create a modern facility offering attractive, sustainable private healthcare. A project team has visited private health units in the UK, including those based within NHS hospitals and stand-alone private hospitals, to see different business models first-hand.

A prior information notice seeking third party providers interested in developing the new unit was issued late last year. A number of organisations have since visited the Island to discuss the opportunity further and a formal procurement process will start shortly. If partnership with a third party provider is agreed, the Department of Health and Social Care expects to award the contract later in the year.

A specialist team is overseeing the redevelopment project, one of the most complex at Noble's for many years. Since closure, the PPU has been decommissioned and staff kept informed of developments. Staff who wished to take on other positions in the hospital have been redeployed in line with their preferences while a number of consultants continue to offer outpatient clinics and diagnostic tests for private patients elsewhere at Noble's.

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