The NHS in England is to end its COVID-19 block-booking arrangement with private and independent sector hospitals.
The move has raised fears that NHS waiting lists could grow even more – but hospital trusts will still be purchasing capacity from the private sector, although only a a pay-as-you-go model.
A deal struck by health service bosses earlier this year meant that up to 90% of private hospitals’ beds, staff and equipment has been effectively set aside to help the country with any massive shock caused by the pandemic.
Some experts say that fears of the pandemic’s catalcylsmic impact on NHS hospitals have proved to be unfounded.
However, thousands of operations and diagnostic procedures have been cancelled in the panic, leaving cancer and cardiac patients at particular risk and rising waits across the board.
News that private and independent sector hospitals will be opening their doors to more self-pay patients and those with private medical insurance should also address some concerns raised in the PMI industry about the need for rebates to be given to customers who have been unable to access treatment throughout the course of pandemic deal.