Our CEO, Tony Veverka, recently commented on the independent healthcare sector’s involvement in supporting the NHS during the current COVID-19 surge. He said:
“The NHS is under unprecedented and mounting pressure across the UK and no doubt the reality now being faced in London will soon spread to other areas, so it is important to recognise that in the absence of formal arrangements, independent providers are providing and offering support to the health service in different ways – there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach.
“At Transform Hospital Group, we worked extensively with the NHS during the first wave of the virus and continue to offer our facilities, staff and equipment for use ‘at cost’ – this includes our hospitals near Birmingham and Manchester, and our network of clinics across the UK.
“We stand ready to continue supporting the NHS, but currently this is not being taken up as extensively or to the point of using all of our capacity and, while it is safe, practical and allowed by the relevant regulators for our private work to continue, we have an obligation to our patients and our staff for this to happen until the NHS calls on us further.
“Internally we have communicated that any NHS work required of us takes priority over the scheduling of private work, and this has been relayed to the local NHS Trusts we deal with. We’ve impressed upon our staff who also work within the NHS that they should prioritise any additional duties or hours being asked of them by the health service ahead of their work with us. Additionally, we are prepared to ask our private-only staff to temporarily work within the NHS to help ease pressure, if suitable logistical and contractual arrangements can be made.
“While we cannot speak for the whole sector, our experience is that independent providers are willing, indeed eager, to support the health service and help the nation through this incredibly tough time – but structure needs to be created and utilised within the NHS to make this happen. There is also a clear need to urgently decentralise the current commissioning process and put in place a more flexible system that will enable NHS Trusts to access independent sector support at a local level, as and when they need it. In the meantime, we cannot provide this support if it is not sought out and taken up.”