LONDON, Jan 10 (Reuters) – Britain has ordered England’s health service to strike a deal with private health companies to provide crucial treatments such as cancer surgery should Omicron overwhelm the National Health Service.
The deal, ordered by Health Secretary Sajid Javid, allows NHS hospitals to send a wider range of patients to the private sector for treatments such as cancer surgery and other care not normally delivered under existing arrangements.
“It also places independent health providers on standby to provide further help should hospitals face unsustainable levels of hospitalisations or staff absences,” said David Sloman, NHS England chief operating officer and Covid incident director.
The agreement includes Practice Plus Group, Spire Healthcare, Nuffield Health, Circle Health Group, Ramsay Health Care UK, Healthcare Management Trust, One Healthcare, Horder Healthcare, Aspen Healthcare and KIMS Hospital, the NHS said.
Britain reported 141,472 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, down from 146,390 cases on Saturday, while the number of new deaths reported fell to 97 from 313, official figures showed.
Britain has seen a surge of cases linked to the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in recent weeks, though death rates have been lower than during previous waves of the disease. Some 1.217 million people tested positive for COVID-19 during the past week, 6.6% more than the week before, while the number of deaths was up 30.9% on a week before at 1,295.
Photo – The NHS logo on the side of an ambulance at an NHS hospital in London, Britain. EPA/ANDY RAIN