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05/11/2020 by Helen Lang

The NHS is under significant pressure as it continues to support the nation through the second wave of COVID-19. The virus first came to the forefront of the global agenda back in March, when “non-essential” NHS services were reduced and postponed, but the backlog of operations combined with annual winter pressures means NHS workers are facing an uphill battle in the fight against the pandemic.

With this mounting pressure, the NHS will likely need to turn to the private sector for help and support and, as our Commercial Director, Philip Green suggested recently in an article with Building Better Healthcare, suppliers must be ready to assist.

The complex processes surrounding healthcare funding can leave Trusts with no way to replace ageing equipment, introduce new facilities or fund anything that is not considered an immediate threat to the running of a hospital. That’s where Philip believes private companies come into play, with their ability to offer creative and flexible funding solutions.

When discussing this method of collaboration, Philip said: “NHS Trusts should work with private sector firms to find alternative finance solutions that will allow them to work outside of pre-agreed capital budgets and plan better for the future.

“At present, the NHS often works on a reactive rather than a proactive basis, largely because of the pressures they face. While this is understandable, it’s not a sustainable planning tactic in the long run. Where NHS Trusts know they need additional funding – whether it be to source new facilities, equipment or something else entirely – they can and should turn to the private sector.

“Capacity issues are only going to worsen as the pandemic continues, so using private finance agreements to prepare hospitals for what’s to come is a viable method. Flexible finance solutions could act as a lifeline for Trusts that need additional capacity or equipment as soon as possible.

“Utilising these alternative funding methods is the best way to keep up with an influx of COVID and non-COVID related patients, while also making sure that the backlog of other procedures can still be a priority.”

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