Several NHS staffing experts, including insourcing specialist Claire Dubowski, have spoken in favour of insourcing as a practical solution to solving the NHS waiting list crisis.

At an HSJ roundtable event that included senior NHS mangers, attendees discussed the need for “a system-wide approach to elective recovery.” There were also calls for more NHS trusts to use insourcing as a means to plug capacity gaps. This comes in the same week that Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting MP has called for reform with both Labour and Conservative parties calling for greater independent sector involvement to help clear the elective backlog.



Unlike outsourcing, insourcing doesn’t involve high-tariff procedures carried out at private hospitals, rather it acts to plug existing capacity gaps in NHS hospitals. By using equipment and theatre space that would otherwise lie unused, many more patients are able to be seen on the weekend, helping NHS trusts to provide a ‘7-day service’ to patients. This includes working people and those with caring commitments, who often struggle to juggle weekday responsibilities with NHS appointments.

Insourcing companies offer a more cost-effective option in contrast to outsourcing, as they charge lower-than-market rates per treatment, integrating their service into already functioning NHS hospitals. Insourcing companies like 18 Week Support offer full bespoke teams to come and perform procedures at the hospital, as opposed to ad-hoc gap-filling as often happens with agencies.



NHS staffing expert and CEO of 18 Week Support Claire Dubowski said: “Waiting lists continue to grow, and unless trusts can utilise spare capacity longer-term, the NHS will not get on top of them. Many ICSs are looking at expanding the workforce or investing in community schemes, but these are long-term solutions. ICSs will need further capacity support in the short-to-medium term to avoid waiting list growth spiralling out of control. This is where insourcing can play a crucial role in ensuring that waiting lists are reduced and patients are treated quicker.”

Clinical Director of North East London ICB Roberto Tamsanguan described the event as: “An excellent opportunity to meet system leaders across the country – to discuss some challenging issues around elective recovery. I’m leaving hopeful we can spread the excellent work done by some systems across the country. “

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