As fear looms around the second wave of Covid-19, the UK healthcare system seems to be struggling. The situation is aggravated owing to a shortage of beds and hospitals throughout the UK operating at lower capacity than usual due to the pandemic. It has been reported that the hospitals may run out of beds soon in some areas including the north of England.

As NHS hospitals are forced into a slump, more than 1 in every 6 people await surgeries and treatments.  A hospital senior official, during the Virtual NHS providers conference held on the 8th of October, said that they might have to postpone elective surgeries again in order to free up space for Covid-19 patients. NHS had previously pushed back about 2 million operations in April 2020, and is preparing for the same disruption due to the second wave of Covid-19.  We all are compelled to think, how is Covid-19 going to change the way the healthcare industry works?

The Independent revealed that private health sector and NHS are to join hands in the near future like never before. They may devise a plan whereby up to a couple of million NHS procedures will be performed by the private sector. Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, has admitted that the independent sector will be the cornerstone in the NHS recovery and play a critical role to provide support to the NHS.

During the crisis 3-month contracts were provided to the independent sector, which was booked to surge capacity for critical operations. The Vice President of Royal College of Surgeons, Cliff Shearman, has said that this integration of private and public healthcare is the need of the hour.  This collaborative working is not only a support for the stumbling NHS but will also provide a lifeline to the private health sector which lost a lot of business during the first lockdown.

Article written by Umema Aziz