NHS ranks to receive big boost from private sector workers and retired staff returning

A nurse using hand sanitiser. Photo: Jupiterimages/Getty Images

A nurse using hand sanitiser. Photo: Jupiterimages/Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images

The NHS ranks are to be giving a major boost in the coming days, with a deal struck to draft in thousands of private health sector workers and thousands of retired staff agreeing to return to work.

In an unprecedented move, NHS England has announced that it had struck a deal with the country’s independent hospitals to provide thousands more staff and nurses to the public healthcare system. Under the agreement, the independent sector will reallocate practically its entire national hospital capacity en bloc to the NHS. This will then be reimbursed “at cost” - meaning that it will not make any profit for doing so. NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said they were taking “immediate and exceptional action” to gear up to deal with an unprecedented global health threat. “The NHS is doing everything in its power to expand treatment capacity, and is working with partners right across the country to do so,” he said. It follows chancellor Rishi Sunak’s dramatic announcement that the Government is to underwrite the wages of millions of workers at risk of losing their jobs as a result of the crisis. It will mean 20,000 qualified staff temporarily joining the NHS, providing additional 8,000 hospital beds and nearly 1,200 more ventilators. David Hare, the chief executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, said they stood ready to support the NHS for “as long as needed”. “We have worked hand-in-hand with the NHS for decades and will do whatever it takes to support the NHS in responding to this pandemic,” he said.

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