*UPDATE 21 March*
Good news! The NHS has struck a deal with private hospitals to take on thousands of extra beds, ventilators and medical staff to fight the coronavirus outbreak. Under the terms of the deal, the private sector will be reimbursed at cost, meaning no profit will be made. Thank you to everyone who joined the call for profit-free coronavirus care in the UK -- your pressure made a difference!
Here's the original petition:
7.9 million Brits could be hospitalised in the next 12 months because of coronavirus. The effect on our overstretched NHS doesn’t bear thinking about.
But private hospitals across the country could instantly ease the strain on our healthcare system. They’ve got thousands of additional beds and vital medical equipment to donate -- but instead are planning to charge the NHS an astronomical £2.4 million a day to use them!
As coronavirus reaches its peak in the UK, private health companies are vying to make a fortune.
We’re all doing our bit to fight this virus. It’s high time private healthcare corporations step up too -- before this crisis gets worse.
We don’t need to imagine what will happen to the NHS when coronavirus peaks -- we need just to look at Italy and China. You’ve probably seen the testimonies of doctors and nurses having to make gut-wrenching decisions to ration care because there simply wasn't room.
Private hospitals lending their beds won’t solve this crisis alone. But it will mean fewer people in need of care will be turned away -- and could save thousands of lives.
This is now officially a pandemic -- we all have to work together to address it. That includes the private healthcare corporations who’ve been profiting off the NHS for years.
The GMB union, which represents NHS staff, lead the call for the government to requisition private hospital beds to the NHS. If we mount a huge public outcry right now -- we can make sure private healthcare companies respond with compassion -- not greed.
For the past 3 weeks, our community has been stepping up efforts to ease the devastation of coronavirus. Tens of thousands of SumOfUs members like you demanded that gig-economy workers get paid sick leave -- and you’ve already made a difference: Uber, Lyft, Hermes, and now Amazon have announced they’re offering sick pay to drivers who’ve been diagnosed with coronavirus or placed into quarantine. It’s got a way to go, but it’s a start.
Now let's do everything we can to help thousands of people in the UK to get the care they’ll need -- without private healthcare companies raking in the cash.