In this illustration, whilst accepting that not all operations cost the same and therefore some beds cost more than others, we will for the sake of simplicity use a hospital bed as the financial unit of measurement. And since we accept there must be profit, in this example we will say it is in the order of “1 bed” profit for every “100 beds” of service to the private sector. This allows us to make the following three statements:
- An NHS hospital funded by the tax-payer to the equivalent of “510 beds”, and with no income from private patients, has a capacity of 510 beds for use by NHS patients.
- An NHS hospital providing “486 beds” to the private sector will make (rounding down) “4 beds” profit for NHS patients.
- An NHS hospital funded by the tax-payer to the equivalent of “510 beds”, and with a private income of “490 beds” of which “4 beds” is profit, has a capacity of 514 beds for use by NHS patients.