Performance figures highlight challenges ahead
11 June 2020
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 highlight just how hard NHS staff are working to provide care and to resume routine activity, but also the challenges ahead.
"The number of people attending A&E is still significantly lower than we would usually expect, although there are early indications that the national messaging that 'the NHS is still there for you' is working, with more people attending this month than last.
"The number of people on the waiting list has decreased to just under four million, but this is likely to be due to a lack of referrals, so we should see these as cases deferred rather than demand falling. Suspected cancer referrals have also dropped this month, with 100,000 fewer people being referred by their GP. We are still concerned that COVID-19 is impacting the number of people accessing primary care.
"However, resuming routine services in this 'new normal' has many complex considerations, including access to personal protective equipment, increased infection control measures, social distancing, and splitting COVID and non-COVID areas in estates. These barriers all affect capacity available to trusts to treat patients.
"Staff are also yet to have access to a reliable and complete testing regime, and are facing the prospect of burnout after going straight into a pandemic after a relentless winter.
"Trusts tell us there is pent up demand for physical and mental health services created by the pandemic, and whilst it is uncertain when, trusts will be planning and working tirelessly to manage this new surge.
"This is all taking place in the context of nearly 90,000 staff vacancies, a deep financial squeeze, and a social care system in crisis."