Nurse pushing hospital bed down a corridor

NHS Scotland spent £20.8m using private sector hospitals

Between March and September 2020, NHS Scotland spent more than £20.8m on using private sector hospitals during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request released by the Scottish Government.

In order to support the Scottish health service’s efforts during Covid-19, and provide a Covid-free environment for urgent elective procedures, primarily cancer, to be undertaken, the devolved administration set a national strategy to secure private sector bed capacity.

The data, which covers outpatient, surgical and radiology activity, as well as breakdowns of procedure types by speciality, showed private sector hospital use during the period across a number of regions in Scotland.

Particularly for the NHS Board covering Lanarkshire, private sector hospital use helped support the continued delivery of a lot of NHS activity during the pandemic - ranking as the highest region, according to non-redacted figures, in all three activity areas.

More than 4,900 outpatient activities were carried out on behalf of the Lanarkshire NHS Board, as well as 2,550 radiology activities and at least 1,616 surgical activities. Some surgical activities carried out by one private hospital for the NHS Board were redacted from the published figures.

Across four private hospital sites, a total of £20,864,310 were spent on securing continued delivery of services between March and September 2020.

(FOI reference: FOI/202000089703)
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