100,000. That’s the number of people who have died within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test in the UK. Whilst there is a tragic story behind each and every death that to a huge degree is hidden by a large focus on numbers, statistics and graphs, they are also a great way of seeing progress.
Millions of people have already received a COVID-19 vaccination. Whilst the government aims to deliver 15 million doses of the vaccine by mid-February with the opening of more hubs and centres, we all hope that this is the beginning of the end of the most intense period for the NHS in its 70 years.
Or is it?
Statistics suggest that the backlog for care is worse than expected, and the 162,000 people waiting more than a year for care are only the tip of the iceberg. There have been just under 4 million fewer referrals for hospital care, with more patients having their conditions managed by their GP or in the community. We don’t know how many more people will need urgent or routine care as a result, but this can only add to the considerable backlog of 4.4 million people waiting for care.
Whilst it’s imperative to deal with the immediate challenges relating to COVID-19, now is also the right time to start treating patients who have been waiting for care. We know the lasting impact of the pandemic will be felt for decades, but acting now to ensure we are able to deal with significant levels of demand as a result of treatments and procedures that have had to be postponed, will at the very least, reduce some of the pressures ahead.
We believe at the centre of dealing with these challenges that lie ahead, is a need to question the very assumptions we make, and use data, facts, and absolute truths as the only foundation for establishing new way of workings, underpinned by a culture of healthy challenge, as opposed to hearsay, myth and media and work to ensure that NHS services are being managed in the most efficient way to deliver improvements in the cost and quality of care.
This means asking ourselves, are we really certain that all available resources (both staff and equipment) are being used in the most efficient way?
We also have to take a step back and ask ourselves, what are the real, tangible goals we are trying to deliver, at a national, regional, local and patient level; for example, no longer should mental health service users be on an inpatient ward without knowing what the goals of their stay are, and how long they are expected to be an inpatient for. There is also an urgent need to equip teams with the right training and tools to ensure workload is fairly distributed, that performance at a clinician by clinician level is regularly reviewed against transparent goals and targets whilst addressing the huge levels of clinical variation.
Our message is simple. Protect the NHS. And those waiting for treatment.
Meridian Productivity Ltd
Director of Marketing and Sales
Mobile: 07894 412647