NHS England and NHS Improvement has issued an operating framework for urgent and planned services within hospitals, which sets out a series of measures to help local hospitals plan to increase routine operations and treatment.
In response, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across healthcare, said:
“There is a hard road ahead for both the NHS and the whole care system. We do need to get the message out that the NHS is there for patients and those who rely on social care and that every service will do everything it can to keep them safe.
“In return, it is right that we should ask patients to play their part by self-isolating ahead of routine hospital procedures. We are heading into a ‘new normal’ – and that means maintaining distance when attending emergency departments and any other ‘walk in’ service.
“Everyone in health and care wants to reduce transmission and only by doing that will we be able to tackle the growing waiting lists and other hidden demand that have built up over the last several weeks.
“Lockdown is working, but it is not without cost and the NHS will not be able to solve any of this overnight – it will take time and we will continue to need the patience of the public as we grapple with this unprecedented challenge. We must also do everything we can to look after our staff, many of whom have been through a significant trauma.”