NHS Confed: Realistic expectations needed on road to recovery

With data from NHS Providers’ Recovery Position report and the Royal College of Physicians’ survey suggesting it could take over a year for services to return to full, pre-coronavirus capacity, NHS Confederation have urged both the health sector and the public to adopt ‘realistic expectations’ about the speed of recovery.

Services will be brought back as quickly as is safe to do so, with health and care service leaders working as hard as possible to ensure where possible patients are still seen promptly and receive the care they need.

However, as NHS Confederation reference, there is a backlog which will need to be addressed, meaning expectations of getting back to what we knew before the virus have to be reasonable and understanding.

Chief Executive of NHS Confederation, Niall Dickson, said: “We face a long road to recovery and both politicians and the public need to understand this. The leaders of health and care services will do everything they can to bring back services as safely and as quickly as they can, but the message has to be ‘don’t expect anything like normal anytime soon’.

"There was a significant backlog of treatment before the pandemic – now it is enormous, because services were stopped or slowed down and because lockdown has brought its own raft of health problems.

"NHS organisations now have to build back services with social distancing and the need for PPE and that means many fewer patients are treated

"We now need to add a productivity crisis to a workforce and funding crisis. Even assuming there is no second spike, the challenges ahead are huge.

"Our NHS Reset campaign has shown that the NHS is facing increased demand and reduced capacity which means it will be many months before we can hope to get back even to the unsatisfactory position we were in before the virus struck."

Earlier this month, NHS Confederation published a report – Getting the NHS back on track: planning for the next phase of Covid-19 – which called for a number of measures to help the health sector safely and efficiently restart services.


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