NHS England Board Notes Outline NHS's 'Phase 3' Recovery Plans
As part of the NHS England and NHS Improvement board meeting held yesterday, the ‘Phase 3’ stage of the COVID-19 response and NHS recovery was set out. The proposed approach to planning for the ongoing recovery of NHS services in the remainder of 2020/21 and progress on the restoration of urgent and critical services and the constraining factors were outlined. In relation to the diagnostic sector, the notes state that, “we will maximise diagnostic capacity, including help to increase workforce productivity and develop Covid 19-minimal community diagnostic hubs”. The board notes also say that ‘we expect systems to use nationally-contracted independent sector capacity to the greatest possible extent”. Another task is to restore the number of people waiting for cancer diagnosis or treatment to at least pre-pandemic levels.
For the coming year, 2020-2021, NHS priorities will include: the preparation of the NHS for winter, to recover as much elective activity as possible, including maintaining improvements in reducing the number of face-to-face outpatient appointments and to address health inequalities which have been exposed due to the pandemic. Restoring service delivery in primary care and community services, prioritising those with greatest clinical need will also be a focus for the service in through this year and next. The full 'Phase 3' letter is expected to be released shortly by Simon Stevens and Amanda Pritchard.