Value Of Independent Sector Healthcare Provision Grows By 5% To £45.4 Billion, According To Latest Laingbuisson Figures

LaingBuissonLogoFigures published today by healthcare consultancy LaingBuisson reveal that the revenues generated by independent sector (non-statutory) providers across 12 core health and care market segments grew by 5% in 2015 to reach £45.3bn.

Growth was led by private acute healthcare, up 8% to £7.8bn (driven by recovering private demand as well as NHS ‘choose and book’ patients opting to receive NHS paid treatment in independent hospitals). followed by care homes for older people (driven by privately paying residents) and mental health hospitals (up 4% thanks to strong demand from the NHS as the NHS’s own in-house mental health hospital capacity continues to decline). But there were also losers, such residential care for younger adults (down 5% to £2.8 billion), though service providers balanced their revenue losses here with revenue gains from supported living services which most local authorities prefer over residential care.

This latest research, published in the twenty-eighth edition of the LaingBuisson Healthcare Market Review, presents figures showing that while a feeling of unsettling times for independent sector involvement in UK health services is far from over, the persistence of calls for efficiencies in health expenditure from both national and local government bodies, is leading to continued outsourcing of publicly funded services.

Table 1
UK Independent Healthcare Market Value by sub-sector, UK 2015


Health / care market  Value of services provided by the
independent sector
 Private acute healthcare  7.8
Care Homes: Older/physically disabled residents  14.3
Care Homes: Younger adults with learning disabilities and mental health problems (England only)  2.8
Homecare & supported living (excluding accommodation)  6.6
Mental health hospitals  1.3
Children’s homes (England only)  0.7
Foster care (England only)  0.7
Special educational needs (England only)  1.0
Primary care dentistry – projected
(NB: Dentists with NHS practices counted as ‘independent’)
Primary medical care *  0.9
Commercial occupational health services  0.3
Community health services  3.0
Total  45.4

* of which: private GPs earn £550m
Source: LaingBuisson Healthcare Market Review – twenty-eighth edition
Speaking at a launch event hosted by report sponsor Bilfinger GVA, LaingBuisson Chairman William Laing said:

‘Most independent sector health and care providers are highly exposed to public policy change, whether directly in terms of the NHS approach to outsourcing NHS clinical services, or indirectly through policy initiatives such as National Living Wage. Austerity has brought major challenges to some segments, in particular care homes and home care for older people, where prices on offer to independent partners have been driven below sustainable levels, but good operators with prudent borrowing are confident they can weather the storm.’

‘Looking to the future, independent sector operators believe that they have an important role to play in the transformation of UK health and social care from its fragmented, hospital-based present to an integrated, community-based future, which is the consensus goal of policymakers, but while the regulatory changes of recent years mean that they can now compete on a reasonably level playing field with NHS in-house providers, they are being held back because the Conservative government still sees internal reform of the NHS as the more politically acceptable solution to the efficiency challenge for the NHS, rather than strong encouragement of more competition and outsourcing to the independent sector.’

Table 2
Public sector outsourcing, market shares, in selected healthcare markets

   Private Pay    Outsourced  
   2009  2015  2009  2015
   %  %  %  %
 Elective surgery  15.5  10.1  4  4.4
 Mental health hospitals (beds)  3.5  3.8  23.5  25.2
 Community health (£)  0  0  16.3  31
 Care homes for older & physically disabled adults  36.3  38.5  54.8  56
 Care homes for younger adults  0  0  77.5  90
 Homecare & supported living  27  17.6  61.2  77.3

LaingBuisson Healthcare Market Review – 28th edition

The twenty-eighth edition of LaingBuisson’s Healthcare Market Review includes thirteen sector chapters giving unique market insight into the full range of health, care and special education services in which independent sector providers have a significant presence, including – for the first time – unique data on the Retail Pharmacy sector.

It also includes chapters on:

–    Private medical insurance, which is the principal funding source for private hospitals; and
–    The political and regulatory environment in which independent providers operate
–    The role of private equity in UK independent healthcare operators

The work also includes the LaingBuisson Directory – a fully comprehensive listing of provider organisations, insurers, hospitals and clinics, plus a financial directory of up to five years’ statutory accounts for over 300 of the largest providers currently operating.