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NHS commandeers private hospitals in attempt to recover cancer surgery

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‘Surge’ clauses allowing the NHS to again take over private hospitals — as it did in the spring — have been triggered in some areas, HSJ has learned.

An email from NHS England to private hospitals in London, seen by HSJ, was sent last week, triggered a seven-day notice period under NHSE’ covid contracts with the providers.

The letter said the London region had requested the move after taking into account “critical care capacity, the doubling rate [and the] forecast acute admission rate related to local prevalence.”

The letter refers to the north central London health system, but HSJ understands similar arrangements have been triggered for north east London. The two areas have a combined population of 3.9m people and have been some of the hardest hit by covid admissions. The clause is also thought to have been triggered in other parts of south east England, but it is not known which ones.

The letter listed six hospitals, five owned by BMI Healthcare and one by Aspen Healthcare, which would, from Friday, commit “100 per cent” of their capacity to NHS use.

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Source: HSJ, 20 January 2021

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