Porge’s Illuminator public sector spend analysis system has revealed that the amount spent by NHS organisations on the outsourcing of acute/clinical services to the private sector fell in 2018/19 for the first time since the system’s records began.
The subject of NHS outsourcing was once again placed under the media spotlight following the recent publication of the Department of Health and Social Care’s annual report and is always likely to be an issue that stirs up passion and debate. However, the following chart taken from Illuminator, which adds up and categorises expenditure information released by public sector organisations under transparency obligations, shows how the increase seen in the amount being paid by the NHS to the private sector for the provision of clinical services over recent years was halted during the last financial year, with spend falling by £70M:
Whether this signals a turning point in the provision of these sorts of services by the private sector remains to be seen. However, Illuminator also shows that although the amount spent by NHS organisations* on outsourced Health & Social Care services in general is still increasing, 2018/19 also signalled a slowing of the rate of this increase, as demonstrated by the chart below (figure shown for each FY is the end of year total):
Spend on acute/clinical services made up just under 13% of all NHS spend with the private sector in 2018/19, making it the third largest area of spend behind pharmacy services (13.5%) and GP & primary care (40.2%).
*Illuminator’s ‘NHS’ Organisation Group includes Acute Trusts, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Community Healthcare Trusts, Commissioning Support Units (CSUs) and Mental Health Trusts.