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Private hospital group backs out of Covid deal to treat NHS patients

Claims by Matt Hancock, Simon Stevens and other senior figures from NHS England that the private hospital sector should be regarded as a permanent “partner” of the NHS after the block booking of private beds this year have been exposed as deluded.

Far from seeing their role as complementing the NHS, and delivering care for NHS patients at cost, it’s clear that private hospitals’ first and only priority is profit – even if it means turning their backs on NHS cancer patients whose treatment is held up by the second wave of Covid-19.

An exclusive article in the Health Service Journal has revealed that US-owned HCA, The London Clinic and the Cromwell Hospital have pulled out of any renewed contracts to treat NHS patients – because the fees on offer were not high enough. The private hospitals were unwilling to return to rules under the first block-booking of beds that ensured low-priority private patients were not treated ahead of NHS patients – including cancer patients – who needed surgery urgently.

Full story in The Lowdown, 6 January 2021

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