NHS Providers survey on operational pressures: COVID-19, winter and recovery plans

Trusts and frontline staff are working at full pelt to clear the backlog of care that has built up during the pandemic, with 90% of pre-pandemic levels of operations now being carried out and a small, but welcome fall in the number of people now waiting over 52 weeks for treatment to begin.
 But our survey reveals widespread concerns amongst trust leaders that winter pressures and further surges of COVID-19 will derail plans to deal with the backlog of care and undermine hard-won progress.


Some key findings include:

·       88% of leaders said it was likely that another surge in COVID-19 cases would place additional pressures on their services

·       89% of leaders said they were worried these additional pressures would come during the challenging winter months

·       73% of respondents raised concerns that plans to clear the backlog of care over winter risked being disrupted because of the need to prioritise demand for urgent and emergency care

·       48% of respondents said they have seen evidence of staff leaving their organisation due to early retirement, COVID-19 burnout, or other effects from working in the pandemic. Respondents are concerned that juggling winter, flu, COVID-19 and ambitious recovery plans will once again put pressure on the workforce.


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