Insourcing Or Outsourcing: Which is Better?

Insourcing Or Outsourcing: Which is Better?

Written By: Katie McTaggart on 18th January 2022

All Professions How To

Many NHS Organisations are now looking to insourcing and outsourcing providers as a way to reduce their waiting list backlogs through addition capacity.  With multiple national frameworks now in place, insourced and outsourced support is becoming increasingly common.

Why are Insourcing and Outsourcing becoming so commonplace?

Throughout the last year, the NHS provided incredibly high volumes of elective care and diagnostics. In fact, the NHS Confederation has said that in October 2021, ‘the number of people seen by a consultant for the first time for cancer was higher than before the pandemic and the fifth most in an individual month ever.’

However, the need to suspend elective care across a total of seven months and a reduction in referrals throughout 2020 have meant that the demand on the NHS for elective care and diagnostics is higher than it has ever been before. Coupled with the ongoing pandemic, the NHS is under tremendous pressure. In obtaining additional capacity, either through insourced or outsourced services, the NHS can get the support it needs in reducing the backlog and managing waiting lists.

If you are thinking about using a third-party provider to support your department in managing RTT waiting times, this article will help you understand what route is best for you.

Insourcing or Outsourcing – What Are They?

The primary purpose for both insourcing and outsourcing is the same. Both methods involve a third party organisation providing clinical services on behalf of your hospital to add capacity and reduce RTT waiting times.

However, there are some key differences – the most prominent being where the services take place:

  • Insourcing solutions: this method will maximise your capacity by providing services in available facilities within your hospital’s premises
  • Outsourcing solutions: this method will provide additional capacity by using the supplier’s own premises and equipment.

Of course, this main difference brings about a variety of small but still significant differences, which will determine which model is best for you.

What Are The Differences Between Insourcing and Outsourcing?

Firstly, the result of both methods should be the same. If you are working with an experienced and quality organisation, you will benefit from:

  • The clinically effective and timely clearing of waiting list backlogs
  • A speedy but solid service implementation
  • A flexible service that meets your needs
  • Cost savings and cost-effective solutions (or Value For Money), with procedures priced below NHS Tariff prices
  • Excellent patient satisfaction rates
  • Continuous service improvement and information sharing

However, there are several differences as to how these methods reach that outcome, and each has its pros and cons:

What are the pros and cons of insourced clinical services?

With an insourced model, you will have more control over the service. The service will generally be undertaken under your CQC registration which means that your policies and processes for clinical care must be adhered to.

All reporting will be recorded on your internal system, which will allow you to have complete oversight of all procedures and outcomes.

Insourcing is often the cheaper option of the two methods, as the provider will be using your facilities – and usually your equipment and consumables – so overhead costs are kept to a minimum.

However, this model is dependent on the availability of your rooms and any other agreed resources. This limits the insourced service to running only when your facilities are not already in use.

What are the pros and cons of outsourced clinical services?

As outsourced solutions take place within the supplier’s premises, services can run concurrently to your own – meaning that they can occur at any time, without any limit or dependency on your hospital.

Any outsourced service must be undertaken under the CQC registration of the supplier, which means that they hold all responsibility for the management of any CQC-regulated activity undertaken on the service. However, this means that the service will be conducted in line with the supplier’s policies and processes, so you may need to consider a thorough review to make sure these meet your requirements for quality.

Further consideration must be taken as to the supplier’s premises, as you will need confirmation that it meets the requirements of your patients, including location and accessibility requirements.

Which is Better?

The question here is not necessarily, ‘which is the better model’ – but instead ‘which best suits my needs?’ Both methods can offer valuable resources and support, but they are at their best when tailored to your specific requirement.

The first step is to identify your needs –

How many patients need to be seen, and over what period?

Do you have facilities that will be available within that timeframe – either in or out of hours?

Do you want the service to adhere to your policies and protocols?

Do you need to be aware of patient outcomes and service performance at all times, or would scheduled reporting be sufficient?

If you are looking for an option that is lower cost, with continuous oversight of the service performance and patient outcomes, you may want to consider an insourced service. However, you will also need to be able to provide certain resources, including rooms and equipment.

If your facilities are already running at full capacity, or you need a service that runs more independently, you may want to look at an outsourced service.

Which Services Can Be Insourced/Outsourced?

Most elective, non-emergency services that your hospital provides can be either insourced or outsourced to a third party. Generally, these solutions are provided for the waiting lists of services such as diagnostics, mental health, and elective surgery, as well as providing a variety of community services.

YMS currently provide therapeutic and diagnostic services across a range of specialities, including:

  • Breast
  • Cardiology
  • Dermatology
  • ENT
  • Gastroenterology and Endoscopy
  • General Surgery
  • Gynaecology
  • Neurology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Oral and Maxillofacial
  • Pain
  • Radiology
  • Rheumatology
  • Trauma and Orthopaedics
  • Urology
  • Vascular


To find out how Your Medical Services can support you with managing patient waiting lists, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 0207 220 0820 or [email protected]

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