Private companies have been involved in many aspects of the UK’s response to Covid-19, from sourcing and delivering PPE to running testing centres and coordinating test and trace programmes.

Polly Toynbee (columnist, the Guardian), Professor Anthony Costello (UCL Institute for Global Health) and David Rowland (CHPI) will join us to discuss the impact of outsourcing such key services to private profit-making companies.

This webinar will explore how long-term lack of investment in public services has left the UK over-reliant on such outsourcing, with disastrous consequences for doctors and patients. The event will draw on concerns highlighted by BMA members in our recent report on the role of private outsourcing in the response to Covid-19, and ask what we can do now to mitigate the damage and set a better course for the future.

This webinar will explore

  • The scale and scope of the role of private companies in the response to Covid-19, including in key areas such as PPE and testing
  • The impact that over-reliance on outsourcing has had on doctors and patients – from missing testing data and lack of transparency to mismanaged PPE distribution
  • How long-term funding decisions have left the public sector less prepared for a pandemic on the scale of Covid-19
  • What we can do in the short term to mitigate the damage
  • How we can lobby for a different approach in future


  • Dr David Wrigley, Deputy Chair of the BMA
  • Polly Toynbee, columnist for the Guardian
  • Anthony Costello, Professor of Global Health and Sustainable Development at UCL, member of independent SAGE committee
  • David Rowland, Director of CHPI (the centre for health and the public interest)