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NHS Trusts urged to expand abroad

NHS Trusts in England are to be encouraged to set up profit-making branches abroad to help fund services in the UK, the BBC reports.

A government agency will link hospitals with foreign governments that want access to British-run health services. Investment would be drawn from the hospitals' private UK work, but the profits would be ploughed back into the NHS.

The BBC said that the plan is unlikely to involve regular district or general hospitals but would target world-renowned hospitals like the Royal Marsden, Great Ormond Street and Guy's and St Thomas'.

Health Minister Anne Milton told the BBC: "This is good news for NHS patients who will get better services at their local hospital as a result of the work the NHS is doing abroad and the extra investment that will generate.

"This is also good news for the economy, which will benefit from the extra jobs and revenue created by our highly successful life sciences industries as they trade more across the globe.

"The NHS has a world-class reputation, and this exciting development will make the most of that to deliver real benefits for both patients and taxpayers."