What will private and NHS healthcare look like after Covid-19?
Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in the UK, the NHS has had to change the way that they treat patients. Many people have had their operations cancelled, and many that were meant to come to hospital for check-ups have been told not to come to hospital. Many doctors were able to do follow up appointments over the phone; will the NHS ever be the same again? Will patients still need to come in to hospital, or can more be done remotely?
The NHS already outsource some of their work to the private sector, this helps them to deal with the huge demand and ensure that patients are treated within a certain timeframe. Due to the high number of cancellations in the last four months, the NHS will have to increase their capacity to ensure that all patients are treated. The NHS may also offer to buy more consultant time, which may lead to less availability for clinics in the private sector.
There is a high possibility that the NHS will purchase and outsource more to fill private capacity to help with the recovery. To do this they may use the facilities (wards and theatre space) as well as the staff. It is unclear how the private sector will work with the NHS, as there is a moral obligation to help the country recover, therefore meaning that private healthcare may not get back to normal for a while. It’s safe to say it is all very up in the air!
Depending on how the NHS deals with the recovery program, the number of patients that self-fund or have private health care will differ:
If the NHS use the private facilities and staff, then these hospitals will have a lower capacity and will therefore not have the facilities to treat lots of patients.
If the NHS do not have a good recovery program and waiting time for surgery is high, then it is likely that there will be a sudden rise in the number of people that go to private hospitals as they will want to be treated sooner rather than later.
It is still very early to know how the NHS and the UK will play out and how long it will take to get things back to ‘normal’, and indeed even know what ‘new normal’ looks like.
Some of the most affected services are (are they are seen as high-risk services to carry out)”
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