The government handed almost half a billion pounds to private healthcare companies to fix the NHS backlog last year, yet is still struggling to treat any more patients than it was, openDemocracy can reveal.

Experts say the figure is just scratching the surface, with NHS bosses in England having been given the green light to spend up to £10bn on private health companies as part of the government’s plan to reduce the record number of patients waiting for care.

The biggest beneficiary of the outsourcing has been the Australian healthcare multinational Ramsay, which received £134m to offer non-emergency care to NHS patients between 2021 and 2022.

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