Positive signs of routine care restarting, but still a long road ahead
09 July 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 demonstrate that the NHS has got some routine services up and running again. Staff across the NHS must be congratulated once again for working in incredibly difficult circumstances and continuing to ensure care is provided across all specialties.
"But it is very early days in the recovery period and trusts are facing the very difficult balancing act of managing COVID and non-COVID patient care and ensuring they plan for both the resumption of more services and preserve capacity should there be another surge in COVID cases.
"It is a welcome sign that more people are seeking urgent care and A&E attendances increased 12% in June, but are still down by a third compared to 2019.
"The waiting list for elective care has shrunk again in May, with 3.83 million currently waiting for treatment. As we saw in April, this will mainly be due to a worrying lack of referrals during the peak of the pandemic. The number of patients waiting longer than 52 weeks has more than doubled in a month and performance against the 92% standard is now at 62%.
"Trusts are now working hard to book patients in for treatment and are very aware that they will likely see dramatic increases in the number of referrals as more services return to normal and more patients begin to access primary care.
"It is welcome to see that the number of GP referrals for suspected cancer increased by 34% in May, but it is still almost 50% fewer than in May 2019. It is vital that patients who are concerned they may have cancer do seek help immediately and have any symptoms investigated.
"Although not reported in today's figures, mental health and community trusts are also working hard to manage an inevitable increase in demand for services and all providers are working together within their systems to integrate services.
"Trusts still have a long way to go in fully restarting all services, but these latest figures show some encouraging signs of progress."