The Guardian reports that figures obtained under a Freedom of Information Request show a sharp increase in hospital income by taking advantage of the lift on the cap of the number of private patients. Health and Social Care Act provisions lifted the previously existing cap (which stood at a national average of 2%), allowing hospitals to generate up to 49% of their income through private patients. Certain hospitals have increased the number of private patients by up to 40%, with six hospitals in London and the South East presenting the sharpest increases:
- University College Hospital Trust in London by 39.63% – from £7.3m in 2010‑11 to £10.3m in 2013‑14.
- Royal Brompton Hospital Trust in London by 37.7% – from £24.3m to £33.6m.
- Moorfields Eye Hospital in London by 31.84% – from £16.1m to £21.3m.
- Papworth Hospital Trust in the South Cambridgeshire constituency of the former health secretary Andrew Lansley by 29.9% – from £4.9m to £6.4m.
- Royal Surrey County Hospital Trust, which serves the South West Surrey constituency of the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, by 25.6% – from £3.6m to £4.6m.
- Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Trust in London by 20.99% – from £10.7m to £13m.
The Labour Party has used these figures to criticise the Government for a “creeping privatisation of the NHS” amid concerns that this could create a two-tier health system.