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ritish health minister John Hutton has admitted the National Health Service (NHS) pays much more for surgeries it contracts out 40 per cent more than it would to provide the surgery directly. The latest estimates indicate that treatment purchased from the private sector cost the NHS 100 million last year while the cost of NHS treatment would only be 70 million.

A recent report shows it costs 91 per cent more for a coronary bypass operation by private contractors and half more for private hip replacements. British experts argue the high cost of private health care in Britain is the result of high pay demanded by consultants and other fees.

As part of the governments strategy to bring down waiting lists, the NHS has contracted out many of its surgical procedures. But the much higher cost to treat NHS patients in non-NHS facilities shows the folly of this plan.