PATIENTS are being offered NHS operations at a private hospital in a bid to shorten waiting lists.

Patients awaiting surgery at Royal Bolton Hospital have been told the Beaumont Hospital is providing some NHS funded operations

to help with waiting times for those needing invasive procedures.

A letter to patients awaiting treatment says surgery at Royal Bolton Hospital has been, ‘paused on occasion’ through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bolton NHS Hospital Trust say they have established a partnership with BMI Healthcare, which runs the Beaumont Hospital.

Based at Chorley New Road, Lostock, it has 20 rooms and three operating theatres.

Hospital bosses say they are sending mainly routine low-risk procedures to the Beaumont.

These include some orthopaedics, general surgery and gynaecology.

The hospital said that some patients have actively chosen to delay their surgery as the pandemic continues.

Surgeries performed there will be conducted by NHS staff and while the Beaumont is a private hospital, patients will not incur any charges

for having their operations there.

The letter sent out also reminds patients that their surgery would be performed in a covid safe environment.

Andy Ennis, chief operating officer at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have worked with our partners at BMI Beaumont Hospital throughout the pandemic to ensure that we are able to provide as much surgery as possible at Beaumont and the Royal Bolton Hospital, in a COVID light environment.

“This is part of a national NHS contract where NHS staff provide some of their services at private providers, working in partnership to deliver more patient care.

“Some patients on our waiting list for routine procedures may be clinically appropriate to have their procedure at the Beaumont, under the care of our team.

“We appreciate these are challenging times for all our patients.

“Our patient’s health, wellbeing and care is still our top priority and we’re confident that the steps we are taking will continue to reduce waiting times and ensure that those currently in need of treatment receive it as soon as possible.”

Beaumont Hospital employs around 180 staff and as well as providing NHS care, they treat insured patients and those who wish to pay for their treatment