'Almost one in three knee replacements and 20 per cent of hip replacements that are NHS funded are carried out by private healthcare providers, figures have revealed.
The number of routine operations being transferred to the independent sector ever year has been on the rise since 2012, with the figure now in the tens of thousands.
The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) said soaring demand and long waiting lists are forcing the NHS to turn to others for help.
Campaigners described the move to outsource surgeries as an intentional step towards privatisation and a spokesperson for campaigning group Doctors for the NHS said the money that goes on the private sector could be spent on the “crippling” NHS.
“This is the inevitable and remorseless result of catastrophic underfunding linked with a deadly process of deliberate and systematic privatisation. Our NHS should have the capacity to cope with increasing demand for these procedures and, unlike private suppliers, it trains good and skilful people to do this work,” Alan Taman, spokesperson for the group, told The Independent.
“Instead we see a growing chorus of blame for ‘NHS failures’ when it is being set up to fail. This is crippling the NHS – and private suppliers are certainly not going to come running to save it. We must,” he added.'
Read more: NHS privatisation fears after figures show third of knee replacements done by private sector
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