Fresh fears over Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital safety as private insurer Bupa suspends services
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A private healthcare provider has suspended all procedures for its patients at the county's flagship hospital due to concerns over safety, it can be revealed.
Bupa patients could previously be seen in the private patient unit (PPU) at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) for a variety of treatments.
But since the hospital was plunged into special measures by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) last month and rated as inadequate Bupa told its patients they would not be using the hospital and instead directed them to the Spire Hospital, in Norwich, or the James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston.
In the NNUH's most recent accounts private patients from all insurers were reported to have brought in £1,631,000 to the hospital in 2016/17.
Last year 132 Bupa patients were treated at the NNUH, compared to around one million NHS patients.
A Bupa spokesman said: 'We always act with our customers' best interests in mind and we take issues relating to clinical quality very seriously.
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'We have taken the decision of temporarily suspending all referrals to the hospital from July 4, following the Care Quality Commission (CQC) rating the hospital as inadequate.
'Bupa customers can continue to access private treatment nearby at the Spire Hospital and the James Paget Hospital. We will remain in contact with the hospital and will look to re-recognise it once the issues identified by the CQC have been addressed.'
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A page on the Bupa website detailing the services at NNUH had been removed. But a version from June 28 said the hospital was accredited to provide endoscopy, a cancer survivorship programme, and prostate cancer treatment to Bupa patients. The hospital could also provide private paediatric services in the PPU, which is separate to the rest of the hospital.
It said patients would get 'a private room in [the] private patient unit', an ensuite bathroom, and car parking.
An NNUH spokesman said: 'We received notification on July 4 of an immediate 30 day temporary suspension of referrals of private patients from Bupa to NNUH following the publication of our recent CQC report.
'All Bupa patients currently being treated in the hospital will continue to receive care here.
'The trust is working on and developing a comprehensive improvement plan to address all of the points raised by the CQC and we are confident in addressing any concerns that Bupa has.'