Insourcing – private companies working in the heart of NHS hospitals

With elective care waiting lists at a record high of over 6 million, hospitals are working flat out to make a meaningful impact, with hospital trusts having to find ways of getting more work out of a workforce exhausted from the pandemic. The situation has given private companies a way into the heart of the NHS – its hospitals – in the form of insourcing.

Insourcing – inviting a private business to carry out work on the trust’s premises – is now a rapidly growing way for private healthcare to generate revenue from the NHS.

In the past the word ‘insourcing’ has been used to describe taking back in-house a service that has been outsourced, however NHS England, NHS Improvement, and the Department of Health and Social Care describe insourcing as:

where an NHS organisation subcontracts medical services/procedures. It differs to locum supply in that the full end to end service is provided, not just staff. The supplier uses the NHS organisation’s premises and equipment to deliver these services, however remote consultations are also available.

The idea is that these companies conduct medical procedures, such as surgery and diagnostics, in NHS premises in downtimes, primarily the weekend, when the NHS is not using the premises. The staff they employ are generally full-time NHS employees who work on their rest days.

Full story in The Lowdown, 8 March 2022

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