Private Hospitals to Support NHS Services in 3-month Deal

NHS England has announced a three-month agreement which will utilise private healthcare staff and facilities in supporting the NHS should Covid-19 cases cause untenable levels of either hospital admissions or staff illness.

The move comes as Nightingale hubs are already being prepared as part of the strategy in a move to find an extra 4,000 beds.

The new arrangement with private healthcare providers is due to run until the end of March 2022 and includes independent providers such as Spire Healthcare, Nuffield Health, Circle Health, Practice Plus Group, Ramsay Health Care UK, One Healthcare, Aspen Healthcare, Horder Healthcare, KIMS Hospital and Healthcare Management Trust.

According to figures from NHS England, in the past year, more than 500,000 diagnostic tests, 470,000 NHS day cases and nearly 2.8 million surgical procedures have been carried out by private sector providers. The new agreement will also see the inclusion of some cancer patients awaiting surgery.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid told a recent interview, “NHS staff continue to go above and beyond to ensure people get the treatment they need this winter and our support for the NHS through this challenging period remains at full throttle.

“This agreement demonstrates the collaboration across our health care services to create an additional safeguard that ensures people can continue to get the care they need from our world-leading NHS, whenever they need it.

“I encourage everyone to keep doing their bit to look after themselves and their loved ones and, most importantly, for all those eligible, to get boosted now.”

In support of the agreement, NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said, “The NHS is working beyond full stretch so it makes sense, when required, to draw on additional capacity from the independent sector.

“However, the supply of staff is finite and it is important that this deal does not exacerbate existing severe staffing pressures for trusts.

“It should be seen alongside other steps to prepare for the impact of Omicron at a time when the NHS is also dealing with so many other pressures.

“The priority for trusts is to minimise delays and maintain the quality of care for NHS patients.

“This has required increased collaboration and support with partners including the independent sector exactly as we saw earlier in the pandemic.”

 

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Carrie Plummer - Editor & Content Manager


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