NHS Providers response to monthly performance figures from NHS England and Improvement
14 May 2020
Going forward meeting demand is going to be extremely complex
Responding to the latest monthly combined performance data from NHS England and Improvement, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said:
"Today’s figures are confirmation that as we feared in April there continued to be a significant drop in the number of people attending A&E. Trust leaders are extremely concerned that people are presenting late for vital emergency care for conditions such as strokes, heart attacks and paediatrics. We continue to ask the public to stay at home if well, but to come forward for treatment when they need it.
"Routine care, such as for hip replacements, was paused in March to free up capacity within the NHS, meaning that the number of people waiting for over 52 weeks for treatment has nearly doubled on last month. However, overall waiting lists have decreased as new patients are not being added to consultant waiting lists in the same way they were before.
"Diagnostic tests have also fallen by a fifth on the previous month.
"This data shows clearly there is pent up demand. There are two major issues to watch. Firstly, there will be a significant number of patients needing to be referred for elective and cancer services down the line, pushing back demand and potentially expanding waiting lists in the future. Secondly, people currently waiting for treatment and those who are staying away from NHS services may potentially have to wait much longer with symptoms and develop more complex needs by the time finally begin treatment.
"Going forward meeting demand is going to be extremely complex as the NHS will be operating in a ‘new normal’, as outlined in our latest report which looks at the challenges for the NHS in successfully balancing COVID-19 with other healthcare needs. Additionally, there will be serious operational logistics to figure out – such as how A&E departments are reconfigured to ensure social distancing, or how mental health facilities can adapt to provide care to both COVID and non COVID patients.
"Today's figures have also shown a decline in the number of 111 calls, as the track and trace approach for each potential case of coronavirus was halted in March.
"All sectors – acute, ambulance, mental health, and community – continue to work extremely hard to meet demand in the challenging circumstances of managing coronavirus.
"The extraordinary efforts of all staff working in the entire health and care system to help keep us safe is inspiring."