New data from the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) shows private hospital admissions at record level in 2023.

  • New records set with more private in-patient admissions in 2023 than any year since records began; beating previous record high in 2022.
  • Insured and ‘self-pay’ admissions are at their highest levels ever.

With the nation’s health a key battleground in the upcoming general election, the latest data from the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) – an independent, not-for-profit, government mandated organisation that serves as a source of information on private healthcare in the UK – shows that there were nearly 900,000 admissions to private hospitals in the UK in 2023. This is more than any previous year and 7% higher than 2022, which was also a record year for private hospital admissions.

Admissions funded by private medical insurance were at record levels, going above pre-pandemic figures for the first time. The largest peak came in the final three months of 2023 when 161,000 private hospital admissions were funded this way. Insured admissions were 7% higher in 2023 than in 2019.

Self-pay admissions – people paying for their own treatment rather than using insurance – were also at their highest ever level in 2023, peaking in the first three months of the year (73,000 admissions) before reducing slightly but staying well above (39%) pre-pandemic levels.

Dr Ian Gargan, PHIN’s Chief Executive, said: “These record figures show the important role the private sector plays in the nation’s health, something acknowledged by the major political parties. With NHS waiting lists at record levels, a growing number of people are looking for alternatives and choosing to use the private sector rather than risk prolonged waits and potentially seeing their health deteriorate.

“The number of people using private medical insurance, or opting to ‘self-pay’ for their procedure, has increased despite the difficult economic conditions over the past few years, demonstrating the importance people place on their health.

Research shows that people often aren’t familiar with the private sector and anyone considering private treatment should visit our free to use, unbiased website – – to find out more about how the private sector works, and the hospitals and consultants who can help them.”

“The UK’s private sector already partners with the NHS, and private hospitals tell us that they have the capacity to help further and bring down the waiting lists and stop people suffering unnecessarily.

“With the majority of the private sector carrying out the more easily arranged and most common procedures, such as cataract surgery, hip replacements and knee replacements waiting lists can be reduced. The NHS can then concentrate on the more complex conditions and chronically ill patients. Cataract surgery continues to be the most common procedure for private hospital admissions, but there are a wide range of procedures carried out in the private sector and some private providers carry out highly specialist treatments and provide complex care."

PHIN collects data from the more than 600 private hospitals across the UK and also from over 10,000 consultants. It published this information on its website to help patients make more informed decisions about their healthcare and improve competition and therefore standards in the sector.

For more information, visit the PHIN website to read its latest Quarterly Market Update which has a range of data about activity in the private sector.