‘You can start working’

Private doctors’ organisations – as we reported last month – have welcomed an NHS England (NHSE) pledge paving the way for a resumption of consultants’ work in the independent sector. Independent Practitioner Today here shares contents of the letter that raised private doctors’ hopes of getting back to independent practice.

Sent to regional bosses last month, it is from Neil Permain, director of NHS operations and delivery, NHS England and Improvement.

We hope you find it useful. Do let us know how the return to private practice is being facilitated in your area. Email robin@ip-today.co.uk.

I’m writing to clarify some issues about the current ‘de-escalation’ phase of the national independent sector contract following a number of questions from both NHS colleagues and from the independent sector.

On 15 May 2020, in acknowledgement of the improving national picture for the NHS with regard to the operational pressure from Covid-19, we entered the next phase of our arrangements with independent sector providers. 

The de-escalation notice issued on that day enabled independent providers within our arrangements to restart routine elective activity, for both NHS and private pay patients. 

Resume elective work

This followed the national letter to the NHS of 29 April 2020 and reflected the subsequent plans within some NHS regions to resume elective work, and the need to enable independent providers to deliver it.

The national picture has continued to improve, with NHS hospitals and wider health systems recovering more capacity following the initial Covid-19 surge… 

As the 15 May notification set out, the resumption of routine elective activity for both the NHS and for private patients was subject to NHSE’s approval locally.