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The price of health

Megan Boxall and John Hughman explain how private companies are key to the survival of the NHS
The price of health
  • Coronavirus has highlighted that the NHS is woefully ill equipped for the UK's changing demographics and lifestyles
  • The private sector can influence positive change including digital initiatives, medical innovations and lifestyle change

On 12 April 2020, just under 20,000 of the UK’s 166,000 hospital beds were occupied with coronavirus patients. The peak of the pandemic in Britain put inordinate pressure on the country’s healthcare system. Even with £6bn in emergency funding, hospitals and their staff buckled under the weight of a terrifying new illness. More than 100 doctors and nurses contracted the virus and died. 

But a rapid improvement in understanding of Covid-19 – the illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 strain of coronavirus – meant by the end of June, Britain’s hospital fatality rate had fallen to less than 0.5 per cent, from 6 per cent just a few months earlier. Brand-new Nightingale hospitals popped up in a matter of weeks, providing extra beds. 150,000 patients have gone through Britain’s hospitals with Covid-19 so far this year and the majority have survived. Lives have undoubtedly been saved by the heroics of the nurses and doctors who work for the NHS. It’s no wonder that the nation’s pride in its healthcare service has rarely been stronger.

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