Andy Burnham MP, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary, in response to reports that a Coventry private hospital is deliberately delaying treatment of NHS patients, said:
"It is wholly wrong for private hospitals to impose arbitrary waiting limits on vulnerable NHS patients, making them suffer longer than they need to, just to protect and promote their own business interests.
"This unethical practice raises serious questions about the manipulation of public contracts, and information gained through them, for private gain. If private organisations wish to benefit from publicly-awarded contracts, then they have an obligation to provide the best possible service to the public.
"There is a danger that this will further undermine public trust in the private sector's approach to delivering public services. Ministers must take immediate action to stop this happening.
"I call on the Health Secretary to take an uncompromising approach. He must make clear to BMI today that all NHS contracts with them will be cancelled unless they withdraw this letter and give clear assurances that this practice will not be repeated at any BMI hospital."