Britain's NHS secures private hospital capacity 'en bloc' to fight coronavirus

A man wearing a mask stands at an open grocery store in Torino Italy

A man wearing a mask stands at an open grocery store in Torino Italy Credit LaPresse

Spire Healthcare Group PLC (LON:SPI) has handing over all available capacity in its 35 private hospitals in England to the NHS for at least 14 weeks to help in the coronavirus pandemic.

Across England private hospitals have 10,000 nurses, 700 doctors and more than 8,000 fully qualified clinical staff, all of which will join the NHS to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

In London, it consists of better than 2,000 hospital beds and over 250 working theaters and necessary beds.

"We're dealing with an unprecedented global health threat and are taking immediate and exceptional action to gear up", said NHS chief executive Simon Stevens.

The extra resources will also help the NHS deliver other urgent treatments.

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"The NHS is doing everything in its power to expand treatment capacity, and is working with partners right across the country to do so".

On Tuesday, NHS England announced that its hospitals across the country would be taking a range of actions to prepare, including freeing up 30,000 of the overall 100,000 beds available by postponing non-urgent operations and providing care in the community for those who are fit to be discharged.

"We all have to play our part to help offset the enormous pressure that our nurses, doctors and other specialists will otherwise face".

The agreement will see the private sector reallocate nearly its entire national hospital capacity to the NHS.

The company said the NHS agreement will give it sufficient liquidity and financial stability during the current health crisis, but the uncertainty caused means it is withdrawing the profit guidance it had given earlier in the month.

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NHS England said on Saturday that almost 20,000 fully qualified staff from the private sector will be joining the health service's response to the pandemic, helping manage an expected surge in cases.

He added the independent sector "stands ready" to maintain that support for as long as needed.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "This is great news for the hospitals and staff doing everything they can to combat coronavirus".

"I want to pay particular tribute to those heroes returning to front line to support their colleagues and help as many patients recover from the virus".

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