Posh private hospitals are facing calls to hand over their beds to the NHS as it grapples with the coronavirus crisis.
Medics warn that frontline services will struggle to cope as thousands of Brits are diagnosed with the killer disease, which has already claimed 11 lives in this country.
Now Labour's shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth says he's appalled that beds could be lying empty "waiting for the wealthy to fall ill" as the NHS struggles.
According to the GMB union there are at least 570 private hospitals in the UK, with a total of around 8,000 beds.
Mr Ashworth said it would be "completely wrong" for Boris Johnson – who has described coronavirus as "the worst public health crisis for a generation" – not to demand these beds are used for NHS patients.
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And GMB general secretary Tim Roache said: "It can't be right that we have plush private hospitals lying empty waiting for the wealthy to fall ill, while people are left in dying in hospitals for the want of a bed.
"Do the right thing and let these unused beds be requisitioned by the NHS to save lives."
Mr Ashworth said: "The Government should leave no stone unturned when it comes to supporting our NHS and making sure it is best equipped to protect life throughout the Covid-19 outbreak."
On Thursday the government's chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said there could be between 5,000 and 10,000 people infected.
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People who fall ill are now being told not to call NHS 111, which is struggling to meet huge demand, instead looking for info online.
Speaking after an emergency Cobra meeting, Mr Johnson said: "Some people compare it to seasonal flu, alas that is not right. Owing to the lack of immunity, this disease is more dangerous.
"It is going to spread further and I must level with you, I must level with the British public, many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time."
Lisa Nandy – who hopes to become the next Labour leader – demanded that more resources are ploughed into social care.
She will say in a speech today: "The Government must publish the analysis behind its decisions to reassure the public.
"Who conducted that analysis, and is it medical or behavioural science that is driving these decisions?"
- Boris Johnson
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