NHS and private sector forge new partnerships to clear patient backlog

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Forced co-operation during the pandemic has taught both sides how they can operate in a mutually beneficial way.

Health chiefs in England are looking to the private sector to help clear a massive backlog of patients whose care was delayed during the pandemic, creating a dilemma for independent providers that can earn more from people who can afford to pay for their own treatment.

Just over a year ago, the NHS completed an unprecedented deal to buy up virtually the entire capacity of the private sector, pouring in millions of pounds of taxpayer money as part of measures to ensure the health service was not overwhelmed as the Covid-19 crisis escalated.

Some 4.7m people are now waiting for treatment in England, including more than 387,000 who have been doing so for more than a year. David Hare, chief executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, said: “We think this is a long-term, minimum five year, exercise to get on top of the waiting lists and improve access for NHS patients and . . . that will require a lot of capacity from the private sector.”

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Source: Financial Times
Authors: Sarah Neville and Gill Plimmer
Date: April 25, 2021 4:00 am