Patients will be encouraged to use an NHS app to book treatments in private hospitals in an attempt by Rishi Sunak to cut down on waiting times.
Dozens of private diagnostic centres will also offer checks for cancer and other conditions to try and alleviate pressures on NHS staff, the Times reported.
More than 7.3 million people are now on NHS waiting lists in England, up from 4.4 million before the pandemic.
The Prime Minister is expected, in the coming weeks, to launch an initiative promoting patient choice with the NHS app at its focus.
Ministers hope the app will help patients shop around for private companies offering potentially shorter waiting times.
Upon assuming office in October last year, Mr Sunak vowed to “give patients genuine choice about where and when to access care”.
A spokesman for the Department of Health told The Times the NHS app had “a vital role in giving patients greater control over their own care . . . We have already started to implement the elective recovery task force’s work and a full plan will be published soon, outlining how we can go even further to unlock the independent sector.”
However, last week it emerged that private healthcare companies are struggling to cope with demand amid record NHS waiting lists.
The Sunday Telegraph disclosed how Bupa customers have complained of “outrageous” waits for their calls to be answered as growing numbers turn to insurance schemes in the wake of the pandemic.
The company said it had taken action to improve call waiting times, recruiting hundreds more call-handlers after customers complained of delays of three hours in April and 90 minutes this month.
In March, the company issued an apology on social media, saying: “We’re currently experiencing high volumes making waiting times longer than usual.
Amanda Madden, a businesswoman from Cheshire, said she had been left waiting three hours on April 13 to speak to someone for just three minutes.
Another customer complained of a three-hour wait on March 30, reporting that they found it “impossible to get through”.
Bupa said it had taken steps to shorten waiting times, which had improved in recent weeks.
Kirk Bradley, customer service director at Bupa UK Insurance said: “We’re very sorry to any customers who, for a short time, had to wait longer than usual to speak to us.