In a letter to NHS colleagues, NHS England has recommended actions for the next six weeks to ensure additional focus on other urgent services amid the coronavirus crisis.
The letter asks that all NHS local systems and organisations work with regional colleagues to step up non-COVID-19 urgent services as soon as possible over the next six weeks. It also asks that work is undertaken over the next 10 days to determine whether there is further capacity for at least some routine non-urgent elective care.
The recommendations cover the following clinical services:
- Urgent and routine surgery and care (outpatient and diagnostic appointments, high-risk patients, transplants, prioritising long waiters first)
- Cancer (referrals, and bone marrow transplant and CAR T-cell procedures)
- Cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and stroke
- Maternity care
- Primary care
- Community services
- Mental health and learning disability/autism services
- Screening and immunisations.
The letter stresses the need to reduce the risk of cross-infection and support the safe provision of services by increasing the use of technology-enabled care.
In an indicator of the state of play at local level, Bart’s Health NHS Trust have published an FAQ stating that emergency cases and cancer treatments will continue as normal but they are unable to say when non-urgent surgery will resume.