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The NHS has announced a new initiative to tackle waiting lists and develop a blueprint for the recovery of elective care following the coronavirus pandemic.
Although the latest NHS waiting times statistics showed activity levels have increased since the start of the year, the impact of the ‘hidden’ backlog of deferred referrals is becoming evident. Instead of contracting, the total elective surgery waiting list saw a steep rise in March 2021.
NHS England is now seeking to accelerate elective recovery by trialling new ways of working and establishing ‘elective accelerators’, which will each receive a share of the £160 million. They will also receive additional support to implement and evaluate innovative ways to increase the number of elective operations delivered at accelerator sites.
Among the solutions included in the trial are a high-volume cataract service and one stop testing facilities. The aim is to exceed the same number of tests and treatments as were done before the pandemic and develop a blueprint for elective recovery.
At Vanguard, we are already working with a number of trusts and hospitals to create so called ‘surgical hubs’, which can help a Trust, or a group of hospitals working together, recover elective services. By using flexible healthcare infrastructure, such as mobile operating theatres and bespoke modular facilities, a stand-alone surgical complex can be set up rapidly and efficiently at almost any site, with minimum impact on the surrounding area.
Flexible healthcare solutions can also be used to quickly increase capacity for diagnostic tests. Our solutions include complete diagnostic centres and mobile endoscopy suites, which are designed to accommodate the entire patient pathway and have on-board decontamination facilities for flexible endoscope reprocessing.
Already a worry before the pandemic, lengthening waits for elective treatments have become a big concern for patients, and the pressure on elective shows no signs of abating. The number of people waiting for elective care is now estimated at more than 5 million.
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