Realistic expectations on NHS performance needed as virus still part of life
Responding to the latest monthly NHS England performance figures, Dr Layla McCay, director at the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
"Against a backdrop that has been so heavily dominated by bad news, it is welcome to see a glimmer of positivity in the latest NHS England performance figures with a month-on-month rise in the percentage of people seen by a specialist within two weeks of an urgent GP referral for suspected cancer. This is testament to the phenomenal efforts of our frontline staff.
“However, these figures also demonstrate that we are seeing the fallout from coronavirus across the NHS, as the percentage of patients waiting more than 18 weeks to start treatment is rising again, and low A&E attendances and emergency admissions suggest those needing urgent care for reasons other than COVID-19 are still not seeking it.
“Beyond that, the NHS will also have to contend with the ongoing care that those recovering from the virus will need, which will put even more strain on an already overstretched and exhausted workforce. As we look to reset the health service, we must build on all the progress and innovation that has come from the pandemic, while acknowledging that it will be an uphill effort.
“Looking forward, we must have a detailed funding plan for the NHS and care services. We will need political and public patience – this will have to be a time of realistic expectations as the service struggles to its feet with the threat of the virus still very much a part of daily life across frontline services.”