Intended for healthcare professionals


Predicted rise in trusts’ income from private patients fails to materialise

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 12 March 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k1159
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London

Private patients remain a very small proportion of all patients treated by NHS hospitals, in spite of legislation in 2012 that opened the door to increased private income.

Critics of Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Act 2012 said that raising the amount a hospital could earn from 2% to 49% of total earnings would lead to a flood of private patients to the detriment of the NHS. But the study, published by the Centre for Health and the Public Interest, found that this income increased by 16% in cash terms (12% in real terms) between 2012-13 and 2015-16.1

As a proportion of completed treatments, private patients rose from 0.49% to 0.5% over the same period. The proportion was actually higher as long ago as 2009-10, at 0.61%. There were also slightly fewer beds in private patient units in 2016 (1142) than …

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