Magazine article Public Finance

NHS Triples Use of Private Sector Surgery

Magazine article Public Finance

NHS Triples Use of Private Sector Surgery

Article excerpt

The NHS has tripled the number of elective surgery procedures it buys from private hospitals in just one year, figures from industry analysts have revealed.

Statistics produced by Laing & Buisson showed that the number of cases treated in 'mainstream' independent sector hospitals but paid for by the NHS rocketed from 53,500 in 2007 to 151,000 in 2008.

The figures exclude another 163,700 procedures carried out in the controversial independent sector treatment centres, set up to plough through NHS waiting lists.

Laing & Buisson director William Laing said: 'This is a big change in such a short space of time, and all the indications are that the surge in NHS-paid patients in mainstream independent hospitals has continued during 2009 as more English COnSUiHeI-S have taken advantage of the government's "choice" initiative.'

Laing's Healthcare market review pointed to the significance of NHS-funded work for the private health care sector. It noted that the NHS's paid share of total inpatient and day-case surgery in non-ISTC private hospitals soared from 6% in 2007 to 16% last year.

Band D council tax rate is set to be £105 lower than in 2006/07. But leader Stephen Greenhalgh told Public Finance he was not confident he could continue the reductions beyond 2010. 'We have roiled the clock back to 2002,' he said. 'But we are not confident we can continue doing that and continue delivering better services. 'We don't know what our funding settlement will be after Total NHS-funded elective surgery cases in private sector facilities hit 314,700 in 2008, compared with 807,100 privately funded operations. …

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