Gloomy news behind the hype for private hospitals

The business press and private sector spin doctors are doing their best to talk up the growth of the private hospital sector despite increasing signs that the prices of private care are unaffordable.

The most recent flurry of puff came as a result of analysis by independent consultancy Broadstone, which showed admissions using private medical insurance increased to 458,000 for the first three quarters of 2023, an 11 per cent rise on the equivalent  2022 figures.

The Broadstone ‘analysis’ is in fact shamelessly lifted almost wholesale from the official figures and commentary produced for the private sector by the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN). These do indeed show an 11% increase – which sounds more exciting than the actual number of extra privately insured patients, just 46,000.

Nor does Broadstone point out that the 2023 numbers have fallen back in quarters two and three. Instead it claims that the numbers could exceed 610,000 in 2023/24, “which will be a record annual level.”

This “record” would be just 30,000 (5%) above the 580,000 privately insured patients treated in 2019 – despite the fact that the NHS waiting list has risen by over 3 million since then.

Full article in The Lowdown, 28 March 2024

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