A privately-run centre for patients needing hip and knee operations is to come under NHS control.

The Sussex Orthopaedic Treatment Centre opened in the grounds of Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath in 2007.

The aim was to help cut back on waiting lists by carrying out routine operations on NHS patients from Brighton and Hove and Mid Sussex.

The move was criticised by campaign groups, who said the services should not be given to private companies.

The centre had been criticised in a review by the former government watchdog, the Healthcare Commission, in 2008.

Inspectors raised concerns about some operating theatre procedures and decontamination methods.

However, improvements have been made since then.

Care UK, which runs the centre, comes to the end of its contract in March.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and the Princess Royal, will take over from April.

NHS Sussex chief executive Amanda Fadero said: “The orthopaedic treatment centre has successfully treated thousands of patients from across Sussex.

"Feedback from patients about the quality of care has been very positive and I am confident it will continue to provide high quality, specialist care.”

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