BMA report

Independent sector providers in the NHS

This is our latest report on privatisation and independent sector provision in the NHS in England.

Location: England
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Friday 16 April 2021
Topics: NHS delivery and workforce
NHS Structure Article Illustration

We believe that independent sector providers should be held to the same standards as NHS providers, including transparent reporting of patient safety incidents and performance.


What you'll get from this report

  • An update on NHS spending on independent sector provision of NHS care.
  • A breakdown of CCG spending on ISPs (independent sector providers) by sector.
  • An update on BMA member views.


Key findings

  • Spending on independent sector provision is broadly stable but remains high.
  • In 2017/18, 7.3% of the DHSC budget was spent on independent sector healthcare provision (£8.8bn).
  • As a proportion of the DHSC budget, independent sector healthcare provision remains high compared to historic levels.
  • BMA members remain concerned about the levels of independent sector provision.


NHS provider selection regime consultation

NHS England carried out a consultation on proposals for a new NHS provider selection regime.

The BMA broadly supports the central proposals – namely the move away from enforced competition.

However, we do not believe that the removal of section 75 of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act and the other changes set out go far enough to limit procurement arrangements with independent sector providers. It also doesn't ensure the future sustainability of the NHS or a more collaborative system.

Read more in our full consultation response.

  • Spending 
  • CCG spending 
  • Quality of care 
  • CQC inspections
  • Impact on the NHS
  • Doctors' views