PRIVATE rooms are now available to patients at Warwick Hospital.
The hospital has just opened the Beauchamp Suite, a private wing consisting of 15 bedrooms. Each room comes complete with ensuite bathroom, smart tv, allocated parking space and an a la carte menu, including three-course evening meal.
For the privilege patients will be charged £125 a night throughout January, rising to £180 a night thereafter.
But although those who opt for a private room will be guaranteed their own space and privacy, South Warwickshire Foundation Trust (SWFT) chiefs say the healthcare provided will be no different to that received by patients in the rest of the hospital.
The money raised through the rooms will be pumped back into hospital services.
Director of development Jayne Blacklay told the Observer: “We have had lots of interest in the rooms, which we expected because of market research we conducted.
“We’ve had mainly a good reaction from people, they think its a great addition to the hospital. We are expecting the suites to make hundreds of thousands each year, although we can’t give an exact figure.
“The rooms are only for orthopaedic patients, and if we feel they need care on the wards in case of complications then we will move them.”
The suite is part of a new development which saw the former estates building at the Lakin Road site converted to house two new wards and the private suite.
The next stage of development includes completing rooms which will be fitted with a sofa bed so patients can have overnight visitors.
SWFT has spent some £12million on the new hospital wing.
But campaign group South Warwickshire Keep Our NHS Public (SWKONP) say they are concerned it is the start of local NHS privatisation.
Spokeswoman Anna Pollert said: “It is unfortunate that Warwick Hospital is seeking to increase its revenues through opening a private wing.
“This is one example of a response to successive governments’ undermining NHS funding. Now, the market system is a drain on the NHS, and hospitals are being forced to try to make up the shortfall in various ways.
“If the internal market and privatisation were removed from the NHS, there would be more money for health care and running hospitals.”
Trusts across the country are being forced to find alternative ways to boost income in the face of increasing pressure on budgets. A number of NHS hospitals nationwide already offer private rooms to patients.
Visit www.swft.nhs.uk to find out more.