The Hospitals industry provides acute and planned health care to both inpatients and outpatients. The public sector provides free hospital services to patients and accounts for an estimated 90% of the UK hospital market, with the private sector accounting for the remainder.
Ordinary and planned surgery beds
Ordinary and planned surgery beds constitute the largest segment and are estimated to account for 45.3% of total revenue. This segment covers the admission of patients for scheduled surgery and treatment given after a referral from a general or specialist medical practitioner. Treatment for patients suffering from chronic illnesses is also included in this segment. Inpatients are those that receive ordinary treatment or are undergoing planned surgery and are scheduled to stay in hospital for more than one day.
The number of treatments relating to ordinary and planned surgeries has increased slightly over the past five years, but the average number of hospital beds has decreased. This made waiting lists for NHS hospital treatment in this segment longer. The segment's share of industry revenue has declined over the five-year period because more medical services have been performed on a day-care basis, reducing the number of inpatients.
Day-care and outpatient services
Day-care services provided to outpatients currently contribute an estimated 27.4% of industry revenue. This segment includes inpatients admitted for a single day. Thanks to rapid advances in medical technology and surgery techniques, the share of operations performed in day clinics has expanded during the past five years.
This segment also covers patients that consult specialists on hospital premises but do not stay overnight. These outpatient services are common in eye hospitals, departments related to internal medicine diagnostics and biopsy clinics.
The share of industry revenue coming from day-care and outpatient treatment is estimated totrend upwards in the five years through 2015-16. New operating techniques have made surgery quicker and cost-cutting measures have made it less likely that someone will be admitted for treatment.
Emergency care beds
Emergency services are provided through accident and emergency (A&E) departments, which recorded over 20 million cases in 2013-14 across the United Kingdom. Patients can arrive at A&E departments on their own, in an ambulance or after being referred by general practitioners, an outpatient clinic or the A&E department of a private health-care provider.
A&E departments are not found in every hospital but are typically present at larger hospitals.
Government pressure on the NHS to cut costs has resulted in a number of A&E departments being considered for closure. Emergency care and treatment cannot be pre-empted, and demand depends on the number of incidents requiring immediate emergency care. A&E admissions are expected to rise over the five years through 2015-16, though this segment's share of industry revenue has remained fairly constant over the period because the Department of Health reduced the standard rates it paid for emergency admissions. This may change in 2015-16 in line with a consultation that was launched in November 2014, which will alter the payments system for A&E, potentially meaning that hospitals will receive more funding than at present for emergency admissions.
The maternity beds segment is a special segment that covers both inpatients and outpatients. The segment covers childbirth via all methods, including caesarean, medically induced and instrumental deliveries. The number of babies delivered is anticipated to increase during the five years through 2015-16, although some regions have cut maternity funding. As a result, this segment's share of revenue has remained fairly stable.