There is a rural context here. We know the most acute trusts represent a significantly disproportionate amount of debt in the system. This is due to the challenges, in part at least, of recruiting and retaining staff. The response is to have to buy more services from the private sector. This story tells us:
Private firms have been handed almost £15bn in NHS contracts over the past five years, figures show.
The value of contracts given to non-NHS providers, mainly profit-driven firms but also including some social enterprises, has soared by 89% since 2015, from £1.9bn to £3.6bn a year.