Quantifying the private market: an opportunity for NHS trusts

March 28, 2023 • Reading time 2 minutes

For many NHS Trusts, care for private patients is a critical part of their business model, with the income generated directly funding front-line NHS care. As budgets continue to come under pressure, there is an opportunity to expand the private care offer, delivering greater benefits for both private and NHS patients. However, deciding if as well as where to invest requires a detailed understanding of patient flow and the size of the private market.

Edge Health was commissioned by a leading NHS Trust to identify and size market investment opportunities for growth on one of their sites. Through analysis of trust activity, finance and cost data, 3 themes of the greatest market growth opportunity were identified:

Market growth opportunity top areas:

  1. Supporting patients with private medical insurance (PMI) to receive privately-funded care;
  2. Acquiring patients from competitors; and
  3. Relocating patients between sites to provide care closer to home

Options for investment within these 3 core themes were then developed, with a minimum, medium and maximum option investments for each theme. Each of these options was presented with projected demand growth, associated costs and the potential income generated through the investment.

The conclusions of this work led to further analysis to identify where and when investments in additional capacity would be required to meet higher demand. This assessment considered the implication of doing nothing, as well as providing a year-on-year breakdown of how much additional resource (beds, theatres, radiology etc.) would be required to reach demand.

Taken together, these pieces of analysis provide evidence on the scale of the market opportunity for private treatment and provide operational support to aid in strategic decisions ahead of any investment. This analysis can be used to support proposals and business cases for investment.


Edge Health are a specialist UK healthcare analytics consultancy that use data and insights to improve the delivery of health and care services, so that better outcomes can be delivered more efficiently.