Over its 70 years of existence the NHS has become part of the fabric of Britain, encapsulating the post-war Labour government’s promise to look after people “from the cradle to the grave.”

The ability to deliver on that promise is now under threat, and the NHS is in crisis. Up to now, private healthcare providers have supplied a relatively small part of the U.K.’s health services— but they have the potential to help meet the country’s growing healthcare needs in a much more substantial way, providing critical and complementary support to core NHS services. However, the structure of the U.K. market is such that it is not a simple matter for private healthcare providers to fill gaps left by the NHS.

In this Executive Insights, Jonathan Sparey, Senior Partner at L.E.K., and Garry Watts, Executive Chairman of Spire Healthcare, a leading U.K. private healthcare provider, examine the changing nature of the U.K.’s healthcare needs and detail five key challenges private providers need to address if they are to become of greater strategic importance in Britain’s healthcare landscape.

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