Responding to NHS England’s publication of its Delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care, Mark England, Chief Executive of HN said:
“With six million people now waiting for treatment and many people yet to be identified or referred, the elective recovery plan is critical. In looking at the backlog we must consider the impact of unplanned urgent and emergency care on elective activity, particularly whilst operationally constrained by infectious disease. We must manage UEC demand in a more proactive and predictive manner away from the front-door to allow resources to support additional elective activity.
“It is encouraging to see the plan mentions using digital technology and advanced data systems to free up capacity. We are pleased to see the government recognises the need for further adoption of virtual wards to provide proactive care away from the hospital and GP surgery, but this is a challenging change where workforce, case-finding, and reducing health inequalities all require careful balance and resource. With any virtual care solution, pathway design and ownership are vital, and technology is often but one minor part of delivering a new virtual service.“