Non-NHS hospitals in England additionally carried out far fewer operations – equivalent to hip and knee replacements – on NHS-funded sufferers.
That is regardless of the hospitals agreeing a deal price about £5bn with authorities that supposed to assist cease the well being service being overwhelmed by demand throughout the pandemic.
In March 2020, the Treasury agreed to pay for a deal to guide 7,956 beds in England’s 187 personal hospitals together with the workers – numbering about 20,000 – at a price of about £400 million a month.
However, in keeping with a suppose tank’s report, personal hospitals handled no Covid sufferers in any respect on 39 per cent of days within the 12 months to March 2021.
An additional 20 per cent of days they cared for just one particular person, in keeping with the report by Centre for Well being and the Public Curiosity (CHPI).
The personal hospitals supplied solely 3,000 of the three.6m Covid mattress days anticipated over these 13 months.
Sid Ryan, a CHPI researcher who wrote the report, advised The Guardian: “Even if the taxpayer paid undisclosed billions to the personal hospital sector, which prevented a number of the firms going bust, official knowledge reveals they barely handled any Covid sufferers and delivered much less elective work for the NHS than they did previous to the pandemic.”
Labour MP Meg Hillier, who chairs the Commons public accounts committee, mentioned that the Division of Well being and Social Care (DHSC) has “repeatedly demonstrated its lack of competence in coping with the personal sector”.
She has urged the DHSC to be “open about how a lot care personal hospitals did present and attempt to claw again cash for remedy that was paid for however not given”.
A DHSC spokesperson mentioned: “We are going to make no apology for making certain the NHS has the assets it wants to offer take care of sufferers throughout a worldwide pandemic.
“The first intention of the unbiased sector deal was to deal with non-COVID-19 sufferers, offering pressing most cancers providers and different life-saving therapies.
“These contracts, supplied at value on a non-profit foundation, enabled the supply of almost 1,200 ventilators, greater than 10,000 nurses, over 700 medical doctors and over 8,000 different medical workers throughout England, in addition to round 2 million consultations, exams, operations and chemotherapy classes for NHS sufferers between March and the top of 2020.”