Realistic clear expectations needed on the NHS’ long road to recovery

Responding to NHS Providers’ Recovery Position report and the Royal College of Physicians’ survey revealing services will take over a year to return to full capacity, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:

“We face a long road to recovery and both politicians and the public need to understand this. The leaders of health and care services will do everything they can to bring back services as safely and as quickly as they can, but the message has to be ‘don’t expect anything like normal anytime soon’.

“There was a significant backlog of treatment before the pandemic – now it is enormous, because services were stopped or slowed down and because lockdown has brought its own raft of health problems.

“NHS organisations now have to build back services with social distancing and the need for PPE and that means many fewer patients are treated

“We now need to add a productivity crisis to a workforce and funding crisis. Even assuming there is no second spike, the challenges ahead are huge.

“Our NHS Reset campaign has shown that the NHS is facing increased demand and reduced capacity which means it will be many months before we can hope to get back even to the unsatisfactory position we were in before the virus struck.”

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