Treatable mortality is linked to an increase in outsourcing of health services to the private for-profit sector, according to a new study by Department of Social Policy and Intervention researchers published in the Lancet Public Health. The study found, since 2014, out-sourcing has been associated with an additional 557 deaths across 173 of England’s clinical commissioning groups.
According to the peer-reviewed study, out-sourcing to for-profit companies consistently increased between 2013 and 2020, corresponding ‘with significantly increased rates of treatable mortality, potentially as a result of a decline in the quality of health-care services’. This study represents the first attempts to measure the total impact of for-profit outsourcing from England’s NHS on health outcomes.
According to the study, outsourcing could lead to increased mortality in two ways:
- Private providers could be ‘delivering worse quality care’…although recent evidence finds no difference in death rates from surgeries in private settings; or
- Outsourcing leads to intensified pressure across the health system.
- Outsourcing health-care services to the private sector and treatable mortality rates in England, 2013–20: an observational study of NHS privatisation. The Lancet Public Health. July 2022.