The independent sector quickly stepped up in the wake of COVID-19, but how can we build on public/private relationships to assist the recovery of health services going forward?
David Furness, director of policy, Independent Healthcare Providers Network, reflects on the vital contribution the independent sector has had in supporting the NHS – delivering treatment and diagnostic services, as well as training for the next generation of medical professionals, during the height of the pandemic. The independent sector quickly stepped up in the wake of COVID-19, but how can we build on public/private relationships to assist the recovery of health services going forward?
Throughout its 73-year history, the NHS has always worked closely with the independent health sector in the delivery of high quality, free at the point of use care. Indeed, in a typical year independent acute providers deliver over half a million NHS surgical procedures, and almost half of all NHS community services providers are from the independent sector.
But since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, these public/private relationships have undoubtedly changed before our eyes, and which will no doubt have long lasting repercussions long after the pandemic ends. As we look ahead at the herculean challenge the health service faces in tackling the backlog in NHS care, it is a good time to reflect on how NHS and independent healthcare providers have worked together over the last year and how relationships can be further strengthened to ensure patients can continue to have access to the high-quality care they need.
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