Private firms cash in on over-stretched NHS
Under-pressure NHS services in England are spending over £1bn a year buying care from outside the NHS because they are unable to keep up with demand.
The bill is being racked up by hospitals, ambulances and mental health trusts, data obtained by the BBC shows.
NHS managers said money was being wasted as often it was done at the last minute, and led to the NHS over-paying.
Sending patients to private clinics for care like hip and knee surgery is thought to be the most common purchase.