Spotlight on... The new normal

Trust leaders are committed to reintroducing a safe balance between care for patients with coronavirus and other services. This briefing sets out the complexities NHS trusts will face in reintroducing more services safely alongside the sustained, continuing, risk presented by COVID-19.

The NHS has successfully navigated the first peak of coronavirus and coped well with the demand created by the virus. By focusing on a clear objective, and working with local partners to create additional capacity, trusts were able to manage the influx of COVID-19 patients.

However, trusts need realism and robust prioritisation about what can be delivered in what timescales, and a coordinated national effort to ensure they have the right national framework and support in place to deliver the complex task of returning to more normal service provision in the presence of coronavirus, and retaining the ability to respond quickly to future outbreaks of COVID-19.

In our briefing, we consider five questions that the NHS must consider going forward: 

  1. What impact will this have on trusts and patients?
  2. What are trusts doing to make more care available now?
  3. What will trusts have to deliver in this next phase of the NHS response to coronavirus?
  4. What constraints do trusts face in continuing to provide non-COVID care?
  5. What do trusts need to rise to the challenge?


Trusts will do all they can to restart services as quickly as possible. They’ll seek to solve every problem they encounter as they've consistently done so far. They will build on the innovations they’ve developed over the last two months. However, we need an honest and open debate on priorities and how quickly we can restart all NHS services.


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