HSJ investigation reveals the ICBs most reliant on private hospitals

An investigation by HSJ has found that up to 20 per cent of NHS elective patients are now being treated by private hospitals in some areas.

There has been an increase in the proportion of treatments completed by private suppliers since before the pandemic, from around 8 to 10 per cent nationally. Three quarters of the 42 local systems have seen a rise (see our interactive map below for every system’s performance).

In the three months to November, the neighbouring ICBs covering the Bristol, Bath and Swindon areas sent 20 per cent of ‘referral to treatment’ activity to private providers. This was followed by Sussex (18 per cent); then West Yorkshire and Mid and South Essex (17 per cent). The lowest levels are in London; North Central London sent the least, with 2 per cent, followed by South East London (3 per cent), South West London (5 per cent).

HSJ notes that it is not clear whether the activity data includes activity outsourced or insourced to the private sector by NHS trusts, so the total proportion of activity carried out by private suppliers could be higher.

Full story in HSJ, 23 February 2024

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