Agreement to free up thousands of beds, ventilators and healthcare staff to help NHS during coronavirus
The private health sector has signed a 'cost-price' deal to provide extra resources, including 20,000 staff, to help the support the coronavirus crisis.
The deal, the first of its kind, will see almost its entire national hospital capacity become available to the NHS, which will include 8,000 hospital beds across England, nearly 1200 more ventilators, 10,000 nurses, more than 700 doctors and 8,000 other clinical staff. This includes 2000 hospital beds in London.
It is thought the extra resources will also help the NHS carry out other urgent operations and cancer treatments.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: "We're dealing with an unprecedented global health threat and are taking immediate and exceptional action to gear up.
"The NHS is doing everything in its power to expand treatment capacity and is working with partners right across the country to do so."
David Hare, chief executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, added: "We have worked hand-in-hand with the NHS for decades and will do whatever it takes to support the NHS in responding to this pandemic.
"This significant additional capacity across the country will be a major boost to the NHS's efforts to treat those patients that need hospital care over the coming period and the independent sector stands ready to maintain that support for as long as needed."
James Dalton, director of general insurance Policy, at the Association of British Insurers said: "In this national crisis, the private health sector will do what it takes to help the NHS have the resources it needs. Freeing up beds in private hospitals will help the NHS treat more patients affected by the virus and save lives. During this time private medical insurance customers will continue to be supported through a range of virtual online health care services. Any customers with private medical insurance who have any concerns, should speak to their health insurer for further information."
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the deal was "great news".
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