What is privatisation of the NHS?

Keep Our NHS Public defines the privatisation of the NHS as:

  • The involvement of private organisations in the provision of NHS services and finances
  • The removal of public ownership and Governmental responsibility for the NHS
  • Charging for healthcare beyond National Insurance contributions
  • Rationing of healthcare.

Keep Our NHS Public also condemns the underfunding of NHS services, particularly when done to cynically promote the unnecessary need for privatisation of services.

Our definition is based on a World Health Organisation definition of privatisation of healthcare that was published in 1995 and has been used by health economists and policy commentators ever since. It reads:

“…a process in which non-government actors become increasingly involved in the financing and/or provision of health care services.”

NEW on the website
Find out about privatisation in your local Integrated Care Board by using the NEW ICS DATABASES developed by ICS working group.


Further reading

In this section Keep Our NHS Public has created a number of articles to help you explore the different ways the NHS is being privatised.

Read our definition of NHS privatisation.

You can find a summary of these on our page: How is the NHS being privatised?

Read in more detail about the different mechanisms being used to privatise the NHS:


Scrap the Health and Care Bill