Five foundation trusts in the overcrowded provider landscape of east Dorset and west Somerset are all looking to drum up some more private business.
Yeovil District Hospital, Dorset County Hospital, Salisbury, Royal Bournemouth, and Christchurch and Poole hospitals all hope to increase income from private patients over the next three years, according to plans submitted to Monitor.
Yeovil has set up a private patient focus group to explore “marketing and opportunities to grow income”, while Poole has appointed management consultants to develop a strategy.
However, there are differences of scale. While Poole is looking to more than double private patient income – from £0.7m last year to £1.6m in 2012-13 – Yeovil is planning for a more modest increase of £200,000 by 2013-14.
Salisbury is planning to target plastic surgery, ENT, radiology, and general surgery to bring in an additional £170,000 in private patient income this year, while from next year it will focus on promoting its cardiology services.
At the Royal Bournemouth they are taking a more cautious approach, with talk of expanding private income “if” the private patient income cap is lifted as proposed by the Health Bill.
Dorset’s plan notes warily that the local market is “saturated”, suggesting some if not all of the FTs will fall short of their ambitions.
But the board at Taunton and Somerset is worrying about loss of private income if the ongoing Office of Fair Trading study into the private healthcare market concludes Musgrove Park Hospital’s private wing is anti-competitive. The trust is “exploring opportunities to partner with other private operators”, just in case.