The independent healthcare sector has a key role to play in ensuring non-Covid NHS treatment can go ahead.
This is according to David Hare, chief executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN), who was commenting on data revealing record wait times for NHS patients in England.
The NHS England figures, released last week, reveal around 4.7m people were waiting for routine operations and procedures in England in February – the highest figure since 2007, with almost 388,000 people waiting more than a year for non-urgent surgery compared with just 1,600 before the pandemic.
Commenting on the figures, Hare said it was clear government must make dealing with the backlog of care a major priority in the months and years ahead.
“The independent healthcare sector has played a significant role in ensuring non-Covid NHS treatment could continue during the pandemic and will need to play a significant role to help the NHS recover services.
“Independent providers have now delivered over 3.2 million NHS operations, consultations, chemotherapy sessions and scans since last March under the historic national deal with NHS England – with over 305,000 NHS procedures delivered by the sector in February 2021 alone.
“The NHS and the independent sector will build on this extraordinary partnership to give NHS patients access to the best possible NHS care, free at the point of use.”