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Pulling apart NHS England’s priorities for the third phase of COVID-19 – this week&#8217

NHS England calls for return to near-normal performance before winter

NHS England’s Phase Three planning guidance letter has been the topic of many conversations over the last week. The letter outlines NHS England’s key priorities as we move away from the acute phase of the pandemic into the Phase Three or NHS Restart and Recovery.

NHS England set out three key areas of focus:

  1. Accelerating the return to near-normal levels of non-covid health services

  2. Preparing for winter pressures in the context of likely local COVID-19 spikes

  3. Learning from the first wave; supporting staff, guarding against inequalities and preventing further outbreaks

It’s not surprising that the planning guidance has sparked a lot of debate and discussion over the last week, with concerns about unrealistic targets and a lack of detail about preparing for winter pressures.

For more on this, read James Illman’s analysis in the HSJ.

Support for ditching the four hour waiting time target

Off the back of COVID-19 and the service changes that have come with it, NHS Providers has announced that it will now support the case for scrapping the four hour waiting time target for A&E.

However, the lobby group has raised its concerns about the need for more clarity about a replacements for the guideline and whether trusts will be able to implement any change at pace.

Soon, NHS England will publish its final recommendations of its clinical review of standards and this is expected to set out a new bundle of emergency care metrics to replace the four-hour target.

Read more about this story in the HSJ.

Is the NHS’ digital transformation a risk?

Over the last few months there has been a lot of talk about the NHS’ digital transformation as part of the response to COVID-19, but has this met our expectations?

In his opinion piece in Digital Health News, Rory Tanner from Health Tech Partners, explains his key concerns from the last few months and where there is room for improvement.

Read the full story in Digital Health News.

Hancock’s performance subjected to ‘CQC-style’ rating

The Health and Social Care Select Committee led by Jeremy Hunt, has outlined plans for a ratings system that will “offer independent and objective evaluation of ministerial pledges”.

An independent panel chaired by Professor Dame Jane Dacre, professor of medical education at University College London and a former President of the Royal College of Physicians, will hear witnesses and scrutinise evidence to evaluate the Government and its agencies’ performance.

The initial pilot will look at maternity services, for which several concerns about patient safety have already been raised.

Read the full story in the HSJ.


Quote of the week

Rather unsurprisingly, the NHS People Plan published last week has sparked a number of conversations in the healthcare community, with praise of some parts and heavy criticism of others.

Hugh Alderwick, Assistant Director of Policy at The Health Foundation, was among those criticising and has pointed out a ‘glaring omissions’ of a workforce plan for social care.

He said: ‘While this plan at least provides stop-gap to help get the NHS through the winter, there is no equivalent plan for social care – a sector suffering from decades of political neglect and the devastating impact of COVID-19.”

Read his full response here.


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