The NHS is facing an extremely challenging period this coming winter

13 August 2020

 Responding to the latest monthly combined performance data from NHS England and Improvement, NHS Providers director of policy and strategy, Miriam Deakin said:

 

“Today’s figures show that the NHS is making positive progress in the recovery period after the first peak of coronavirus, as activity levels across all services reported continue to steadily increase.

 

“Although activity is still significantly lower than the same time last year, each month hospitals are seeing more people attend emergency departments, carrying out more routine operations, starting more cancer treatments, and conducting more diagnostic tests.

Today’s figures show that the NHS is making positive progress in the recovery period after the first peak of coronavirus, as activity levels across all services reported continue to steadily increase.

Miriam Deakin    Director of Policy and Strategy

“Demand is also increasing. In June, the number of GP urgent referrals for a suspected cancer jumped up by 44% and the number of people being referred to mental health services increased by a fifth. These figures mirror the concerns of 61% of mental health trust leaders, who told us in our first survey since the pandemic, that they are seeing increased demand for urgent or crisis care.

 

“However, today’s figures also show that the wait for routine operations is increasing while trusts try to catch up and begin to clear the elective care waiting list. Although the size of the waiting list has only increased by 1% since last month, the number of people waiting longer than a year has doubled.

 

“The figures once again prove that the NHS is not a COVID only service. We recently highlighted just how dangerous such as a description may be as it is vital that the public understand that the NHS is open and they must seek treatment and care when required.

 

“Looking forward, despite some additional funding, including capital to upgrade A&E facilities, the NHS is still facing an extremely challenging period this winter if a second surge in COVID infections combines with winter flu, usual seasonal pressures and the backlog of care that has built up over the course of the pandemic.

 

“Any forthcoming comprehensive spending review will need to take into account the investment needed to support the NHS to operate effectively for all patients alongside the constraints created by COVID-19, to invest in preparadness for a pandemic, modernise the NHS estate and urgently address the crisis in social care.”

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