The Private Health sector boasted that they were boosting the NHS response to the coronavirus.
David Hare, Chief Executive of the Private Healthcare Providers Network tweeted:
“We all have to step up to fight the coronavirus and the private hospital sector is making its capacity available at cost to bring substantial additional resources to the fight.”
Simon Stevens NHS England and NHS Improvement tweeted:
“The deal – the first of its kind ever – includes the provision of 8,000 beds across England and Wales, nearly 120 more ventilators, more than 10,000 nurses and over 700 doctors and over 8000 clinical staff.”
The cost is an estimated £2.4 million a day. Money that the NHS needed to prepare for this terrible pandemic, advised in 2016.
It is no surprise that Stevens welcomes private health involvement, having served for 10 years as a senior executive at United Healthcare Company (UHC) and health advisor to Tony Blair. The firm was the subject of a class action lawsuit filed by the American Medical Association after it claimed UHC used faulty claims data to underpay doctors and overcharge patients and $350 million compensation was ordered to be paid. The health service provider had invested directly in the UK Primary Care market and made profits of £11.4 million 2018.
Under new arrangements, private hospitals will be reimbursed at cost for the foreseeable future. Many companies are struggling and told to seek loans, but the private health business will not only receive a handout but will boost their profits.
In 2018 a combination of a drop in private medical insurance and lack of business from the NHS due to £1 billion Tory cuts and deficits drove the largest healthcare provider, BMI Healthcare group, into financial difficulty prompting restructuring. The UK’s largest operator Circle Health acquired BMI Healthcare group. BMI Healthcare showed losses of £12 million 2018/19 and Circle Healthcare lost £14 million over the same period.
The same Tory-inspired NHS cuts caused shares to tumble belonging to the UK’s second largest private provider Spire Healthcare. Figures revealed in Private Eye showed the 39 hospitals made combined losses of £24 million in 2018.
Share prices at the London Stock Exchange leapt more than 15% once the deal with NHS England and the Health Minister Matt Hancock were agreed – profiting from the misery caused by the coronavirus.
There is no question that all resources need to be acquired and used for the benefit of people in this terrible health crisis; the idea that Private Healthcare is given another boost for the benefit of shareholders is another matter.
For too long the Private Health providers have eluded the expense of training or providing comprehensive healthcare, Colin Hutchinson (Doctors for the NHS) writes:
“The great majority of clinical staff that work in private healthcare have been trained by the NHS, largely at the expense of the taxpayer. Private health providers do not carry the direct or indirect costs of this training. NHS hospitals have the responsibility to provide comprehensive 24/7 services, not only A&E, but in most other medical and surgical specialities, whereas the private healthcare providers can steer clear of such commitments.”
It’s time to end the parasitic relationship whereby taxpayers subsidise this sector. Private Health Care resources should be requisitioned and brought under NHS control, not purchased to the tune of £2.4 million a day boosting this industry and shareholders. Private health and profit have no place in a civilised society.
Health should not depend on the size of your wallet or be seen as steady investment profiting from human misery.
Find out more about anti-NHS Privatisation Campaigns:
Keep Our NHS Public – https://keepournhspublic.com/
NHS For Sale – an excellent resource developed by researchers, campaigners and health professionals
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NHS Staff Voices public meeting – speakers include: Gary Younge – journalist and campaigner, Dame Donna Kinnair – RCN, Dr Sonia Adesara – Keep Our NHS Public and NHS Staff Voices
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