Private hospitals look set to care for many more health service-funded patients than usual over the coming months, but NHS trusts have been warned they could be fined if they don’t increase their levels of activity.
Trusts could be landed with a fine if they don’t hit 90% of their usual capacity levels by October, according to sources quoted by the Times.
NHS waiting lists have soared over recent months as both health service hospitals and private hospitals have been given over to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Critics have suggested that Government policy is simply stacking up problems with conditions like cancer and heart disease that will only get more expensive in the long run.
Data from NHS England last month revealed that only 54,550 patients were admitted to hospital for treatment in May.
That compares to 295,000 recorded this time last year.
Private hospital operators have been keen to stress that while they are more than willing to be flexible about capacity arrangements.
But there have been calls for private medical insurance (PMI) providers to rebate customers who have had operations cancelled or delayed as a result of the pandemic.
However, statistics released by Healthcode last month show a significant uptick in the number of PMI and self-pay procedures carried out by the private sector in recent weeks.