Recent weeks have brought good news for the business side of some consultants’ practices but ‘unprecedented’ times look to remain part of our lives, says David Hare.
The last few months have been challenging for everybody working in the independent healthcare sector, not least for independent doctors.
They have been impacted by the temporary suspension of routine elective care and the reduced availability of private hospital capacity resulting from the block-booked deal with the NHS announced in March.
‘Unprecedented’ may be an overused word, but it certainly fits the bill this year. The unprecedented deal between the NHS and independent sector hospitals enabled, in just a few short months, hundreds of thousands of NHS patients to continue to access urgent care and treatment.
This is particularly so with cancer care for which over half of all independent hospital beds have been used. So many lives have undoubtedly been saved as a result of this agreement and the sector has been proud to work hand in hand with the NHS during this incredibly challenging time.
Providers of independent diagnostics, primary and community care have had to take unprecedented steps to adapt to a world in lockdown.
Huge efforts have been made to move services online to ensure patients can still get the care and support they need, demonstrating the agility and can-do attitude of practitioners working in the sector.
As we know, there has been an impact on the availability of capacity for private patients during this time, but things have been steadily improving over recent weeks. Latest figures from Healthcode already show private hospital activity bouncing back in July, with insurer-funded activity reaching 58% of 2019 levels in July. And we are pleased that the NHS’s deal with the majority of independent sector hospitals has evolved.
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