Competition in NHS is driving patients towards private providers

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 19 November 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7852
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1London

Independent sector treatment centres (ISTCs) have become firmly established as providers of NHS care in England, delivering operations for nearly one in five patients in some specialties, shows an analysis.

The analysis, which set out to map how the choice agenda in England has changed where patients are treated, found that between 2003-4 and 2010-11 the proportion of hip replacement operations carried out at patients’ nearest hospital trust fell from 68% to 54%. By 2010-11 ISTCs were the locations for 17% of these operations.1

Similarly, the proportion of hernia operations carried out at patients’ nearest trusts fell …

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