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This has been a miserable year in so many ways, but one of the extraordinary side effects of the pandemic has been different organisations, industries and sectors ripping up normal processes to collaborate in a moment of crisis. ‘Collaboration’ has been a corporate buzzword for decades, but this year we’ve seen its real power unleashed.
The Pfizer vaccine currently being injected into vulnerable people up and down the country is probably the most potent example. Collaboration between an American pharmaceutical company, German scientists and a UK regulator has transformed this country’s prospects for 2021. The Oxford vaccine that also looks set to ride to the rescue next year is the product of an unprecedented collaboration between the university, two private companies, AstraZeneca and Vaccitech, and the UK Government.
In hospital care, we have seen the same power of collaboration this year. Just a few days
after I became CEO of Circle Health Group – a national network of independent hospitals with 16,000 staff, 53 hospitals and 2,500 beds – it became clear that the NHS was going to need all the help it could get to survive this pandemic. We made a decision then to put all our own plans on hold to help support the NHS, and put our entire suite of hospitals, beds and equipment at their disposal.