Lifting the lid on use of private sector

The Lowdown survey of 23 ICBs has revealed interesting new information on the extent of local dependence upon private sector clinical services, and the extent to which ICBs and trusts view the private contracts to be a liability rather than an asset.

Thirteen ICBs from the sample of 23 refer to the use of private providers; five of these are clearly positive about them, and regard the independent sector as an asset.

Bedfordshire, Luton & Milton Keynes notes “Elective Recovery Fund income is expected to grow in 2024/25 with the expansion of Independent Sector Providers.” (p103) The private providers have even developed their own waiting lists: “There were 2,589 patients waiting at local independent sector providers (Blakelands Hospital, Manor Hospital, Saxon Clinic and SpaMedica Bedford).” (p106)

However deficits at both Bedford and Luton mental health services are attributed to “increased demand for private sector beds.” (p115)

Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland ICB also seems to regard independent sector and insourcing providers as an asset in efforts to hit waiting list targets.

West Yorkshire ICB reports “Through WYAAT [West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts], there is an established mechanism for collaborative use of the available independent sector capacity to maximise best use of this capacity for our population.” (p31)

Lancashire & South Cumbria also insists “maximisation of all available capacity including the independent sector is a critical element to our plans.”(p13)

Full story in The Lowdown, 15 May 2024

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