New data on private healthcare in the UK shows how the Covid-19 pandemic has led to an estimated 84% drop in privately funded care.

Following a slight rise in the estimated number of overall privately funded episodes of care of 3% in January 2020 and 4% in February 2020 respectively, in March the data shows an estimated drop of 30% compared with 2019, and an estimated 84% drop between April 2019 and April 2020. 

The type of private treatments delivered during the pandemic has also changed significantly, with medical oncology becoming the largest single specialty performed, making up an estimated 63% of all privately funded admissions in May 2020.

Medical oncology is the biggest specialty performed privately

These insights are based on the Private Healthcare Information Network's (PHIN) national private healthcare dataset, and look at how the nature of privately funded care changed as the country went into lockdown and independent hospitals and NHS Private Patient Units diverted their resources to support the NHS.

Dr Jon Fistein, PHIN’s Chief Medical Officer, said: “While the impact on privately funded care is still emerging, with some the underlying data still incomplete, we can start to picture of the impact Covid-19 has had on the private healthcare market in the UK.

"As hospitals have diverted their resources to support the NHS effort, private care took a back seat. It is reassuring to see that urgent care – such as medical oncology – has continued to be provided during the difficult time. We will be keeping an eye on the situation and what happens over the coming weeks and months”