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12.03.20

NHS Providers: Whole health and care system facing significant challenges

Following the release of the latest monthly combined data from NHS England and NHS Improvement, NHS Providers’ Director of Policy and Strategy, Miriam Deakin, has highlighted the significant challenge facing the entire health and care system.

As Ms Deakin explained, staff were now being relied on to work extremely hard to keep people safe.

She said: “There has been a slight improvement in the number of people being seen within four hours in accident and emergency departments in February and the number of people waiting over twelve hours to be admitted has reduced by almost half in one month.

“However, this small gain in performance is not mirrored elsewhere across the system with record low levels of performance against the cancer targets, no let-up in the number of people waiting for elective care, more people waiting for diagnostic tests and a significant rise in 111 calls since last year.

“The whole health and care system now faces a significant challenge due the threat of coronavirus.

“It is important to remember that trusts do have extensive and well-rehearsed plans in place to ensure the health service is in the best possible situation to care for a significant increase in patients. These plans include a range of measures which can be taken to increase capacity, albeit this may have an impact on the whole system. For example, discussions are currently taking place on the possibility of postponing planned care such as routine operations to create more beds for people with the virus.

“Whilst the government’s measures outlined yesterday in the Budget are greatly welcomed and an important recognition of what is needed, we will need to see funding translate into getting supplies quickly to the frontline, and more focus on support for social care to ensure that patients can be appropriately discharged to improve flow and reduce pressure on hospitals.”

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