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Government and NHSE/I must act on evidence of failings in NHS services caused by Covid crisis

23 July 2020

The Health and Social Care Committee is urging the Government and NHSE/I to take immediate steps to address failings in the delivery of NHS services as a result of the Covid crisis.

A letter jointly addressed to Secretary of State Matt Hancock and NHS England & Improvement Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens highlights early conclusions and recommendations in three key areas arising from the Committee's inquiry into Delivering core NHS and care services during the pandemic and beyond ahead of a final report due this autumn. MPs say it is vital that action is taken now in preparation for a possible winter spike in the virus and to provide much needed reassurance to NHS patients that they will receive the care they need.

Evidence has revealed levels of distress and anxiety among patients as a result of poor communication about delays to treatment while it is unclear what action the Government and NHS/I is taking to tackle a mounting backlog of cases.

MPs pinpoint the “significant failure” to bring in routine testing for NHS staff with a recommendation that it is carried out at least weekly from September. 

Chair's comments 

Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP said:

“We've heard from patients who have suffered huge distress and anxiety as a result of the interruptions in NHS care caused by the pandemic. People understand why this has happened and recognise the huge effort made by frontline staff during the crisis. However, patients report a failure by the NHS to let them know what is going to happen to their treatment going forward and put their fears to rest.  

“There is going to be a huge backlog and people with illnesses - sometimes life-threatening - need to know where they stand. Likewise, NHS staff want to know they will get the weekly testing that has now been offered to care home staff so they can be confident they won't pass on infections to patients. The Chief Medical Officer says he supports this in principle so there should be no further delays given the complicated logistics necessary to set it up ahead of winter.”

Further information

Image: PA