Bright Skies, Or Stormy Weather? Healthcare Industry Barometer 2014

Sector leaders in the UK’s healthcare sector believe market values are beginning to return to pre-credit crunch levels, although there are concerns the 2015 general election is going to bring decision-making to a halt, HealthInvestor’s annual healthcare industry survey reveals.

The Healthcare Industry Barometer 2014, jointly produced by HealthInvestor magazine and law firm Nabarro, suggests the independent health market is recovering its confidence after the trauma of the international financial crisis.

Since 2009, respondents have been asked if the value of healthcare companies have returned to pre-credit crunch levels, and 2014 represents the first year where there has been more than a handful of affirmative responses (23%). The research also shows that confidence has diminished in the government’s ability to accelerate the expansion of the private sector in the NHS.

This year 46% of respondents reported a significant slowdown in such involvement. 59% of respondents believe CCGs have not resulted in a more plural and competitive market – a big change from the sector’s early optimism. Despite more than half of respondents in 2013 predicting that “the role of the private sector will be the key political battleground in healthcare in 2014” only 40% believe this has materialised.

It is unlikely that this scenario will remain unchanged as the UK approaches the 2015 general election, and questions around how healthcare is funded – and delivered – come to the fore. HealthInvestor readers felt the main impact the political climate is having on the market is one of delay, with respondents pessimistic about meaningful progress on integration of health and social care.

Indeed, only a third of respondents believe the Care Act 2014 has provided investors with the clarity required around long term funding questions.