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NHS doctors offered up to £5,000 to recruit colleagues for private hospitals

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NHS doctors are being offered cash bonuses of up to £5,000 to recruit colleagues for jobs at private hospitals, as commercial healthcare providers compete for staff with an overstretched public health service.US-owned HCA Healthcare, which runs more than 30 facilities in London and Manchester, and claims to be the largest private provider in the world, is spending tens of thousands of pounds recruiting NHS-trained doctors, the Guardian can reveal.Referral fees range depending on skills and seniority.

According to marketing material seen by the Guardian and doctors working for HCA who asked not to be named, the company is offering bonuses of £5,000 for intensive care doctors – one of the most in-demand specialisms – £2,500 for general resident doctors, and £1,000 for more junior roles.The money is offered for staff who go on to work for HCA part- or full-time, meaning they either leave the NHS or reduce the hours they work in the public health service.At the height of the pandemic, as state-funded hospitals were in danger of becoming overwhelmed, the company emailed recruitment messages to NHS doctors offering golden hellos equivalent to 10% of annual salary.Other perks for those who want to join the US health company include critical illness cover of up to £10,000 after a year of service, 50% off gym membership and dining out, life insurance and access to private GPs as often as needed.The company, which is opening a £100m private hospital in Birmingham later this year, is also offering generous sums to those who join.

In marketing material from February 2023, circulated on LinkedIn to people looking for work,HCA offered £10,000 welcome bonuses to paediatric nurses joining its Portland hospital, where royals including

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