Shared capacity, guaranteed income
Private healthcare is becoming so prevalent in the UK that only last month Sajid Javid ordered the NHS in England to work in tandem with the private sector. The UK’s Health Secretary insisted that the public sector and ten private healthcare providers sign a three-month deal to help the country deal with the impact of the Omicron surge.
The deal, due to end March 31, is worth £270 million to the private operators, with the money a ‘minimum guarantee’ for them to be available on standby. An additional £1 billion a year is expected to be spent on the private sector in the future, says the Centre for Health and the Public Interest (CHPI).
These minimum income guarantees in the deal have raised alarm bells with NHS leadership. Amanda Pritchard, head of NHS England, voiced concerns by saying: “in giving a minimum income guarantee there is a material risk that the NHS pays for activity that is not performed.”
Private orthopedic demand exceeds the NHS
Private hospitals are now delivering more hip and knee replacements than the NHS for the first time since the operations became commonplace in the late 1960s. Towards the end of last year, around 5.6 million people were on NHS waiting lists for an elective procedure. This number has risen to 6.1 million in figures published last week.
One private health company – Spire – revealed an 81 per cent increase in income between 2019 and 2021, solely from patients paying for their operations.
And it’s not only hospitals that are seeing an increase in patients; private GP surgeries are too. There are more private GPs than ever before, according to a report by research company LaingBuisson on behalf of the UK government’s Office for National Statistics. The numbers have increased during the pandemic as GP services have seen demand for appointments soar, including more remote consultations rather than face-to-face appointments.
UK Watchlist for 2022
These are our top picks of UK private health care providers to watch out for in 2022.
Cleveland Clinic London
Cleveland Clinic is a century-old institution headquartered in Ohio USA, and plans to open a 184-bed hospital in London in early 2022. The landmark hospital is expected to cost around £1 billion. Cleveland Clinic London already has an outpatient facility in the capital and world-leading tertiary hospitals in two other states in the USA. They also operate hospitals in Toronto and Abu Dhabi.
Founded by doctors, One Welbeck sets itself apart as a minimally invasive day surgery and outpatient diagnostics centre. Back in 2019, this provider opened two centres, Digestive Health and Heart Health, at London’s One Welbeck Street. A year later, it added a further eight centres, and now in 2022, there are 12 centres in total, all under one roof. More than 200 consultants are employed over nine floors.
The London Clinic
The London Clinic has been based in the capital’s famous Harley Street since 1932. During WW2, it opened the world’s first-ever plastic surgery clinic to cater for soldiers. Today it is the first independent hospital to introduce robotic surgery, with four surgical robots in total. Today, it’s one of the UK’s largest private hospitals and a charity.
London Women’s Clinic
Offering ‘world class’ fertility treatment, the London Women’s Clinic opened in Harley Street in 1985. Today there are many regional centres throughout England, and two in Wales. These clinics specialise in the most advanced infertility treatments, from egg donation to surrogacy.
HCA Healthcare UK
Originating in Nashville USA in 1968, HCA has been operating in the UK since 1995. Today it has more than 30 facilities in London and Manchester, with the highest number of critical care beds. This year it plans to open its new £100m venture, The Harborne Hospital, on the campus of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.
Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
Regarded as a world-leading cancer treatment hospital and voted ‘outstanding’ by the Care Commission, the Royal Marsden opened in 1851. It treats more than 59,000 NHS and private patients annually. Last year it reported its income from private treatment grew to £133 million.
Today there are around 90 private health care providers in the UK, with the industry estimated to be worth around £9 billion a year. That compares with £177 billion spent on healthcare by the UK government.
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