By Peter Lazenby
EALTH privateers should provide hospital beds “rent free” during the coronavirus outbreak, general union GMB said today.
Britain has only a quarter of the number of acute public hospital beds as Germany, and half the number of Italy, according to figures from the European Hospital and Healthcare Federation.
The government has said that as the coronavirus crisis deepens it will use beds in private hospitals at a cost of £2.4 million a day.
GMB national officer Rehana Azam said: “It’s time to take back these beds for the NHS, rent free.
“This is a public health emergency — not a business opportunity for shoddy private healthcare chums to profiteer from distress.
“Not a penny of taxpayer cash should line pockets of grotesquely wealthy health firms. Private resources must be requisitioned for public good.”
GMB London regional secretary Warren Kenny said: “The electorate will expect the government to be able to mobilise all health capacity — be it public or private — to deal with what the Prime Minister has described as ‘the worst public health crisis for a generation’.
“The private health sector cannot be excluded from this mobilisation.”