NHS: Private Sector

Health written question – answered on 16th June 2011.

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Photo of Tim Farron Tim Farron Party Chair, Liberal Democrats

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients chose to use a private provider for an NHS funded procedure in each year from 1997 to 2010; and at what cost to the public purse in each such year.

Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns The Minister of State, Department of Health

The figures in Table 1 provide a count of finished consultant episodes (FCEs) where a main operative procedure or intervention was performed at independent sector providers. These include patients who may have elected or been referred to these centres between 2000-01 and 2009-10. The Department does not collect information on a patient's choice of provider. A decision on the choice of provider should be part of the patient-referrer discussion.

Table 1: FCEs with an operative procedure c arried out by independent sector providers
2000-01 11
2001-02 11
2002-03 438
2003-04 4,936
2004-05 13,109
2005-06 16,051
2006-07 61,125
2007-08 87,027
2008-09 159,249
2009-10 208,693
Note: Data qualityHospital Episode Statistics (HES) are compiled from data sent by more than 300 national health service trusts and PCTs in England and from some independent sector organisations for activity commissioned by the English NHS. The NHS Information Centre for health and social care liaises closely with these organisations to encourage submission of complete and valid data and seeks to minimise inaccuracies. While this brings about improvement over time, some shortcomings remain. Source: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), The NHS Information Centre for health and social care.

The expenditure in Table 2 relates to the total health care spend in independent sector treatment sectors and other private sector providers and covers a range of services and treatments. Data were not collected on expenditure between different sector providers (including voluntary and local authority) prior to 2006-07.

Table 2: Expenditure by primary care trusts (PCTs) on the purchase of health care from non-NHS bodies 2006-07 to 2009-10
  2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
£ million % £ million % £ million % £ million %
Spend with                
Independent sector treatment centres 200 0.3 314 0.4 352 0.4 373 0.4
Other private sector providers 1,992 2.5 2,602 3.0 3,066 3.4 3,766 3.9
Total 2,192 2.8 7,916 3.4 3,418 3.8 4,139 4.3
Source: Audited PCT summarisation schedules 2006-07 to 2009-10.

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