Call to use private sector to tackle waiting lists

Private healthcare providers are urging the NHS to ‘turbo-charge’ their use of the independent sector to bring down waiting times.

The call came as the latest NHS performance figures showed yet another record NHS waiting list of 6.1m.

David Hare, chief executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, welcomed last week’s NHS elective recovery plan, but he said the latest waiting list figures meant it was vital for the Government’s commitments to now translate into concrete action that swiftly improves patients’ access to care. 

He stated: ‘As the recovery plan makes clear, the independent sector has a key role to play in providing desperately needed capacity to the NHS, and we now need to see local areas turbo-charging their use of the sector to increase activity and bring down waiting times. 

‘Independent sector capacity available to the NHS is still going unused in many parts of the country and this needs to be urgently remedied if access to NHS care is to be improved.’

Mr Hare said the recovery plan included much-needed commitments to bolster patient choice rights, but currently less than half of the public knew they could choose where to receive their NHS treatment, including in the independent sector. 

‘There must now be a real drive in the NHS to ensure the public are given all the information so they can make the best decisions about their care. 

‘Tackling the elective backlog is the public’s number-one priority for the NHS and people will now want to see the Government urgently stepping up its efforts and do all it can to stop waiting lists getting out of control and improve patients’ access to care.’