There has been a marked shift from NHS to independent sector provision in community and mental health services over the past few years, but spending on non-NHS hospital providers has slowed, new analysis by the Nuffield Trust reveals today.
In a briefing extracted from a forthcoming research report on the NHS finances, the Nuffield Trust reveals that one pound in every five spent by commissioners on community health services in 2012/13 was spent on care provided by independent sector providers, an increase of 34 per cent in one year alone.
Along with the money spent on voluntary and other providers of community services, this means that nearly one third of the £9.75 billion the NHS spends on community health services is now with non-NHS providers.
While spending on non-NHS providers of hospital care has slowed, this plateau is probably a short term phenomenon – changes in procurement rules may well see this accelerate in future
The briefing also shows that non-NHS provision in mental health services has increased by 15 per cent in real terms between 2011/12 and 2012/13 alone.
In the hospital sector, however, which accounted for over £40 billion of NHS spending in 2012/13, the growth in spending on NHS funded care delivered by independent providers slowed. In 2012/13 commissioners spent £14 million less on independent sector providers in real terms compared with 2011/12 (£1.582 billion in 2012/13 compared to £1.596 billion in 2011/12).
The analysis, which forms part of a forthcoming report examining NHS provider and commissioner finances, is based on audited accounts from Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), the organisations previously responsible for commissioning secondary care in England.
“This analysis shows that there has been a real shift in the makeup of organisations providing community and mental health services over the past three years, with a third of spending on community services now flowing to the private or voluntary sector.
“While spending on non-NHS providers of hospital care has slowed, this plateau is probably a short term phenomenon – changes in procurement rules may well see this accelerate in future”.