Kate Woodhead RGN DMS discusses the recently published ‘Delivery Plan’ for tackling the backlog of elective care, in the wake of the pandemic. People who are waiting for care are becoming increasingly desperate to receive their surgery, and many are suffering and in pain. So, how can we tackle the backlog and ‘build back better’, while caring for a workforce that is still suffering the after-effects of COVID-19?
The 6.1 million people who are waiting for a letter to tell them they have an appointment to discuss their immediate care needs will be interested in the recently published ‘Delivery Plan’ for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care.1 People who are waiting for care, especially those who have waited longest, are suffering in pain and disability and are becoming increasingly desperate to receive their surgery or their treatment.
Elective care, as we know, covers a broad swathe of non-urgent services often delivered in the acute sector, from diagnostic tests, scans, cancer treatments and surgical procedures. Hospitals are already working really hard to reduce the long waiting lists, which have occurred as a result of many of those services closing or reducing throughput, during the pandemic. Together with COVID patients, it was as much as many hospitals could manage to deal with urgent and emergency patients.
A recent report from the Nuffield Trust2 sets out an interesting review of how the UK performed relative to sixteen other countries’ developed health systems, providing some lessons for us to review and consider as part of preparation for another pandemic and recovery. It suggests that other well equipped health systems have been left in vulnerable positions and many countries are now facing the very same catch-up imperatives as the NHS
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