Intended for healthcare professionals


Hospitals serving England’s most deprived patients generate proportionally less private income, study shows

BMJ 2024; 384 doi: (Published 16 February 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;384:q419
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

NHS trusts in England that serve more patients from the most deprived areas receive a lower proportion of their income from private patients and charitable donations than those that serve less deprived populations, research has found.1

For some years successive governments have encouraged NHS trusts to grow their non-NHS commercial income.2 In 2022 NHS England said in leaked guidance that private patient services “continue to be a significant source of material opportunity for the NHS.”3

The new study, published in the journal Public Money and Management,1 found that overall less than 1% of total NHS trust income came from private patient income and charitable donations. Within this the researchers observed an “uneven distribution” across NHS trusts that was linked to deprivation levels.

“Hospitals that have relatively large private income tend to …

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