Whole health and care system is now facing a significant challenge

12 March 2020


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

"The figures released today show that staff continue to work extremely hard to keep people safe. There has been a slight improvement in the number of people being seen within four hours in accident and emergency departments in February and the number of people waiting over twelve hours to be admitted has reduced by almost half in one month.

"However this small gain in performance is not mirrored elsewhere across the system with record low levels of performance against the cancer targets, no let up in the number of people waiting for elective care, more people waiting for diagnostic tests and a significant rise in 111 calls since last year.

"The whole health and care system is now facing a significant challenge due the threat of coronavirus.

It is important to remember that trusts do have extensive and well rehearsed plans in place to ensure the health service is in the best possible situation to care for a significant increase in patients. These plans include a range of measures which can be taken to increase capacity, albeit this may have an impact on the whole system.

Miriam Deakin    Director of Policy and Strategy

"It is important to remember that trusts do have extensive and well rehearsed plans in place to ensure the health service is in the best possible situation to care for a significant increase in patients. These plans include a range of measures which can be taken to increase capacity, albeit this may have an impact on the whole system. For example, discussions are currently taking place on the possibility of postponing planned care such as routine operations to create more beds for people with the virus.

"Whilst the government’s measures outlined yesterday in the Budget are greatly welcomed and an important recognition of what is needed, we will need to see funding translate into getting supplies quickly to the frontline, and more focus on support for social care to ensure that patients can be appropriately discharged to improve flow and reduce pressure on hospitals."

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