Demand for private healthcare diagnostics will only increase so the onus is on providers to decide whether to increase capacity in this area, according to Fiona Booth, head of external affairs and stakeholder arrangement at Healthcode.
Booth (pictured) delivered the opening address on the second day of Health & Protection’s Health Summit last week, and revealed the recovery in private care since the pandemic had also seen changes in use.
According to the firm’s data, 39% of private bills in January 2023 were for diagnostic procedures such as medical scans, ECGs and blood tests.
“If you think that doesn’t sound like much, bear in mind that the remaining 61% includes everything else – consultation fees, other procedures and drugs,” Booth added.
“Diagnostic tests and imaging can become more sophisticated and their applications have grown. So I expect their role in the patient pathway to grow.
“We know that the NHS is struggling to meet the demand for diagnostic tests. There were 1.5 million patients waiting for a pre-diagnostic test at the end of 2022 – up over 91,000 on December 2021.
“It will be for private sector providers to consider whether they want to increase their own capacity with regard to facilities, equpiment and human resources,” she added.
Asked whether demand for private healthcare diagnostics will increase in future, Booth believed it would be more than just a Covid-triggered surge.
“I think that has been accelerated due to Covid,” Booth continued.
“So from that perspective the whole diagnostics outside of hospital is a growth area that is only going to increase – certainly from what we’re seeing the claims shows that.”