30% drop in paid for operations since Labour election

Laing & Buisson’s annual Healthcare Market Review, said only 900,000 patients paid privately in 2008 compared with 7.7 million NHS operations, a fall off 30% since Labour took power, the FT reports.

In 1997, 14.6 per cent of all non-emergency surgery was carried out in the private sector.

William Laing, chief executive of Laing & Buisson, said: “This remarkable reduction in the privately funded share of elective surgery is not because private healthcare is in decline.

Injection of public spending

“The main reason for the falling private share is that NHS-funded surgery has been growing so much faster, aided by the massive injection of public spending during the last decade,” Mr Laing said.

The number of cases paid for by the NHS in private hospitals trebled to 151,000 in 2008. Those numbers are still rising as NHS patients’ rights to choose a private hospital begin to take off.