In the past 10 years there has been a substantial increase in the number of for-profit private hospitals, while the number of public hospitals decreases. This has been heightened by the recent economic and financial crisis where hospital closures have created new opportunities for private providers. What are the consequences of higher private sector involvement for the quality, accessibility and efficiency of services? This report examines the role and contribution of private provision of hospital services in the European Union. It maps the extent of private provision across Europe, examines the drivers for increased private provision, describes how it takes place, and presents the views of different stakeholders. The report also analyses the implications of private provision for the public sector and for the efficiency, accessibility and quality of the services delivered. An executive summary is available - see Related content.