All private hospital capacity in England will be turned over en bloc to the NHS to help fight the Coronavirus pandemic as part of an unprecedented agreement between the independent sector and the NHS announced today.
The additional staff includes 10,000 nurses, more than 700 doctors and more than 8,000 other clinical staff, who will be joining the health service to help manage an expected surge in cases, said NHS England.
The extra resources, including almost 20,000 staff, will also help the NHS deliver other urgent operations and cancer treatments, according to the announcement by the health service and private operators including Nuffield Health and Spire Healthcare.
The company said it had made a decision to suspend certain procedures as of last Friday, including all non-urgent elective surgery for patients over the age of 70 and vulnerable patients with co-morbidities.
He said: "We're dealing with an unprecedented global health threat and are taking immediate and exceptional action to gear up".
"But it is absolutely vital that this is matched by successful and comprehensive adoption of the public measures needed to cut the spread of the virus".
Under a freshly signed agreement, the independent sector will reallocate nearly its entire national hospital capacity to the NHS and will be reimbursed at cost.
Spire will be paid an amount to cover costs for its services, including operating costs, overheads, use of assets, rent and interest, with a deduction made for any private elective care provided.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the deal was "great news".
Spire Healthcare will use the first week to prepare its colleagues and facilities for full use by the NHS, while it continues to treat NHS and private elective patients where appropriate. The NHS is also sourcing up to 10,000 in independent and community hospitals, which this deal largely now delivers.
David Hare, Chief Executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, commented: "Independent hospitals are boosting emergency capacity to put at the disposal of the NHS over these coming weeks".
He said: "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".