Sheffield private hospital to furlough staff as it loans space to NHS to support coronavirus response
‘Non-essential’ staff at a Sheffield private hospital are to be furloughed as independent medical companies loan out space and equipment to the NHS at ‘cost’ price to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move comes as part of a nationwide agreement between private healthcare providers and the NHS which aims to ensure maximum capacity in hospitals is available to treat inpatients with coronavirus.
Essential staff including nurses at Claremont Hospital in Sheffield, which does not have the equipment to treat coronavirus patients, will still be working to treat patients for other ‘time-critical’ surgeries, including hip and knee operations.
This allows more space at NHS hospitals such as the Royal Hallamshire and Northern General to be used to treat Covid-19.
‘Non-essential’ staff will be asked to take part in a voluntary furlough scheme, reducing hospital costs and thus the price at which the capacity at the private facilities can be booked out by the NHS.
The agreement sees the NHS benefit from an eight per cent (7,956) increase in available beds and 10,000 more nursing staff.
A spokesperson for Aspen Healthcare, which runs Claremont Hospital in Crosspool, explained: “This agreement covers all the inpatient facilities and the staff working for Claremont Private Hospital. Claremont Hospital has no plans to close and is supporting the NHS by carrying out operations for patients who require time-critical surgery.
“NHS England has asked private hospitals to consider whether a limited number of non-frontline staff could be voluntarily furloughed where their role is less relevant to current services being provided and where those individuals cannot be safely or appropriately re-purposed.
“No decisions regarding any individual roles have been made and we remain committed to assisting the NHS with the Covid-19 crisis by ensuring that our facilities, equipment, together with all nursing, clinical and support staff required to deliver the service remain in active service.
“In common with all other private healthcare operators, any savings made in furloughing non-essential staff will benefit the NHS on the basis that all capacity has been block booked ‘at cost’ by NHS England during this period.”
BMI Healthcare, which runs The Thornbury Hospital in Ranmoor, has been contacted about whether they are doing the same.