Future Healthcare

Income down but potential remains

Our monthly analysis of how private patient units are faring turns its attention to the 17 NHS trusts delivering acute care services to the south-west counties of Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, Wiltshire, Somerset and Gloucestershire. Philip Housden reports.

Regional total private patient revenues in the South-west fell significantly last year after a static period of three years. Total revenues are estimated at £28.5m, down from £31m the year before. 

The decline masks a wide range of individual trust performance (see Figure 1 above) and represents 0.53% of these trusts’ total revenues, down from 0.61% last year. 

The combined national average outside of London is 0.5%.   

Updated accounts for 2018-19 were available for all but three trusts at the time of writing – Great Western, Weston Area and Royal United Hospital Bath – for which 2017-18 data has been used.

The two trusts that have revenues above £3m a year – Great Western, Swindon, and United Hospitals Plymouth – deliver private patient services through contrasting approaches.  

Great Western operates a 20-bed dedicated PPU, branded Shal­bourne Private Health Care. During the past year, changes of management and some weakening of ring-fencing of private bed capacity are expected to have impacted on revenues which were £3.4m in 2017-18.  

At Plymouth, the trust grew private patient revenues by £274,000 (9.6%), 0.61% of turnover, without re-opening its previous ring-fenced capacity, The Meavy Clinic.  

Offering specialist regional services, the trust catchment is for complex activity, a market opportunity which may drive further growth.