About the independent healthcare sector


  • The UK independent hospital sector has significant additional capacity which can help reduce waiting times and provide more patient choice.  The sector wants to play a more active role in reducing the pressure on NHS frontline services.
    • Independent hospitals contribute significantly to the nation’s health and wellbeing. They support a healthcare system free at the point of need.
    • Independent hospitals are willing and able to carry out more procedures for the NHS, giving greater choice to patients and alleviating pressure on NHS hospitals.
    • By September 2015, 472,790 NHS patients chose independent providers for their elective inpatient care. There were 779,786 referrals made by GPs to independent providers for outpatient care during the same period.


  • The UK independent hospital sector wants to help alleviate pressure on the NHS by encouraging patients to draw upon their private medical insurance.
    • The sector is actively exploring ways to make PMI more accessible and attractive to corporations and individuals.


  • Independent hospitals deliver safe and high-quality care in the same regulated environment as the NHS, which is essential to the nation’s health and wellbeing.
    • Independent hospitals provide high quality care. They are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) against the same criteria as NHS hospitals. They provide safe and high quality care to patients to meet and excel in the standards set by the inspectorate.


  • AIHO members make a significant contribution to the UK economy and drive innovation in the UK healthcare sector.
    • The £2bn of additional investment that independent hospitals have brought to the UK over the past five years has contributed to the UK’s high quality and globally renowned healthcare infrastructure.
    • The independent hospital sector is a major employer and wealth creator. It employs over 60,000 clinical staff and is committed to enhancing training and professional development opportunities.
    • The total private acute medical care market was worth £6.05bn in 2015. £5,030m of this is through inpatient, day case, outpatient and diagnostic services carried out at independent hospitals and clinics.


  • The independent healthcare sector is made up of private and charitable healthcare providers.