Extra £100m spent on external providers in 2015/16 shows NHS cannot cope with rising demand, FT research suggests
Health chiefs spent about half of the £2bn of extra cash allocated in George Osborne’s pre-2015 election autumn statement on buying care from private and other non-NHS providers, an analysis has shown.
The Health Foundation research for the Financial Times showed £901m was spent on buying services from outside the health service in 2015/16 for care provided free at the point of use for NHS patients. It compared with £800m spent on purchasing the same kind of care from NHS trusts.
In his 2014 autumn statement, the former chancellor described the money for NHS England as a “down-payment on the NHS’s own plan” and said it would go towards frontline services.
The report also found that £1 in every £8 of local commissioners’ budgets in England is now spent on care provided by non-NHS organisations. The Health Foundation said the figures showed NHS providers have not had the capacity to deal with rising demand.
Anita Charlesworth, director of research and economics at the Health Foundation, said: “Rising demand for emergency care meant that NHS providers haven’t had the capacity to deliver planned care and patients had to be diverted outside the NHS. NHS hospitals were left squeezed by sharply rising drug and staff costs with little additional funding. The result was big deficits that had to be covered by raids on investment budgets.