3 million NHS patients treated under historic independent hospital partnership

Over 3 million NHS procedures have been delivered by independent hospitals in England under national arrangements during the covid19 pandemic, new figures have shown.

One year on from the historic partnership between the NHS and independent hospital sector, whereby virtually all independent hospital capacity was made available to the NHS “at cost”, these new figures show the major contribution that the independent sector has made during the pandemic in ensuring that vital NHS operations, chemotherapy sessions, diagnostic tests and consultations were provided to NHS patients free at the point of use. This treatment is in addition to care delivered to large numbers of privately-funded patients.

The partnership has played a key role in ensuring the NHS did not become a “covid only service”, enabling over 160,000 life-saving NHS cancer and cardiology treatments to be delivered.

Marking the one year anniversary of the NHS and independent hospitals partnership, the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) have launched a new report shining a light on what has been achieved over the last 12 months, with a specific focus on what independent hospital sector support has meant to both patients and the NHS.

As part of this covid partnership, independent providers have also played a key role in supporting NHS junior doctors – hosting over 2,000 medical trainees throughout 2020.

While the national partnership agreement will conclude at the end of March, independent providers remain committed to supporting the covid19 recovery, and will continue to play a key role working with local NHS partners to deal with the significant backlog of delayed care due to covid. The latest NHS performance data published this month showed the largest ever official waiting list on record at 4.6 million, with over 300,000 people now waiting longer than one year for treatment.

David Hare, Chief Executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, said:

“Over the past year, independent sector providers have been working shoulder-to-shoulder with the NHS and have made a significant contribution in ensuring vital NHS care, including 160,000 cancer and cardiology treatments, could continue during the pandemic.

“On the one-year anniversary of this historic partnership, I’m delighted to be launching this report showcasing just some of the many inspiring partnerships between independent and NHS providers during what has undoubtedly been the toughest periods in the health service’s history.

“Independent providers remain committed to supporting the NHS as part of the post-covid recovery and this partnership will continue to evolve in the months and years ahead with a renewed focus on clearing the significant backlog of NHS operations, whilst also ensuring private patients can access the care they need.”