30.4.20 Letter from Simon Stevens outlining the second phase of the response to COVID-19
NHS England has set out a six-week action plan and priority areas for the health services to restart non-coronavirus services.
In a letter from Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England [add link to letter], sent to all NHS organisations, the NHS is being asked to release and redeploy capacity from treating COVID-19 patients, to other care services over the next six weeks. These services include:
- Urgent care – strengthening 111 capacity and sustain ambulance services ‘hear and treat’ and ‘see and treat’ models and open up new secondary care models (hot specialty clinic, frailty services) that allow patients to bypass the emergency department altogether where clinically appropriate.
- Cancer care – local systems and cancer alliances must identify ring-fenced diagnostic and surgical capacity for cancer, and providers must protect and deliver cancer surgery and cancer treatment by ensuring that cancer surgery hubs are fully operational.
- Mental health – establish all-age open access crisis services and helplines and promote them locally working with partners such as local authorities, voluntary and community sector and 111 services.
NHS organisations are also being asked to prepare to a rebound in emergency admissions, which have fallen drastically in recent weeks, as well as COVID-19 aftercare and support in community health services, primary care, and mental health.
For non-urgent care, local NHS organisations should work across systems and with regional teams over the next 10 days to make judgements on whether they have further capacity. But this will need to factor-in the availability of associated medicines, PPE, blood, consumables, equipment and other needed supplies.