NHS England’s national capacity contracts with the private healthcare sector during the Covid-19 pandemic are to be subjected to a national review, HSJ has reported.

In December it was revealed that two-thirds of the private sector capacity block-purchased by the NHS at a cost of hundreds of millions of pounds, went unused over the summer.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the NHS booked block contracts for almost all the private hospital capacity in England, which is estimated to have cost up to £400 million a month.

According to a leaked NHS England document the national contracts will be subject to an external review in September. The document states: “During the response to Covid-19, there have been a range of contract forms with the independent sector to provide additional capacity and activity to support the NHS to maintain the elective and cancer pathways.

“These arrangements have evolved over time from March 2020… an external review is expected in September. We will need to populate data about the utilisation of the IS from the beginning of the contracts in March 2020 ahead of this review in order to develop the narrative.”

Date published: February 10, 2021

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