Private healthcare sector continues to bounce back

PHIN data shows

Adam Saville
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Private healthcare sector continues to bounce back

Industry figures reveal continued recovery for private healthcare sector from June to end of August

In August, there were more than 40,000 private healthcare admissions in the UK, which is more than two-thirds of the admissions in 2019, data from the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) has revealed.

The findings follow stats for June to July which showed self-pay and insured private healthcare admissions at almost 50% of 2019 figures.

The graph below shows estimated count of private admissions (discharges) for 2020. Numbers are still down, but there are clear signs of continued recovery.

According to PHIN data, recovery within the market has been chiefly driven by a few specialties. There are trauma and orthopaedics, general surgery, and ophthalmology.

These have seen the largest recovery, with ophthalmology more than doubling from July (2,300 admissions) to August (5,000 admissions). Trauma and orthopaedics has seen the single largest increase in admissions, with 4,300 more admissions from July to August.

The graph below shows activity by specialty as discharged and percentage of total admissions (discharges).

The graph below shows estimated admissions (discharges) and 2020 market share for trauma and orthopaedics, general surgery and ophthalmology.

Of the most prominent specialties in private healthcare only cardiology saw a drop in activity in August, down to 600 admissions from 700 in July, PHIN data shows.

To date, no specialties have yet recovered to the same levels of activity from before the pandemic, said PHIN.

Elsewhere, plastic surgery continues to be the slowest recovering specialty. There were only 1,700 estimated admissions for plastic surgery in August, which is less than 40% of what it was in February, when there were 4,300 admissions.

'Positive signs'
 
Dr Jon Fistein, PHIN's chief medical officer, said: "Based on the data we continue to receive from hospitals, we are seeing activity steadily increasing and the balance of activity returning to pre-Covid levels. While the market for acute private healthcare hasn't yet fully recovered, these are positive signs.

However, it's not clear what impact a second Covid-19 wave over winter will have, particularly with different regional restrictions in place. We will continue to monitor this."

The full PHIN report is available on its website.

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