Responding to the announcement of an additional £150 million capital funding to expand and upgrade 25 more A&Es to reduce overcrowding and improve infection control ahead of winter, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
“Back in June we called for more funding to build capacity to ensure there is sufficient space for care that is safe and socially distanced. This £150 million to expand and upgrade A&Es to reduce overcrowding and improve infection control will therefore be welcomed by health leaders and patients.
“But A&Es are not the only places where urgent capital investment is needed and we would like to see the same priority given to mental health where significant changes also need to be made to wards as services are remodelled to deal with coronavirus. Our mental health members are telling us they haven’t seen the anticipated peak in demand for their services yet.
“It is unclear whether this funding will be enough to solve the additional challenges that the NHS will face this winter with COVID-19 present. We look forward to more detail in future about how capacity can be increased to enable the backlog of treatment needed to be reduced at the same time as services are restored.
“Details have also so far been lacking on the support that will be made available to social care in the run-up to winter and we urge the Government to act now to put this right. A well-resourced social care system is vital to enable the NHS to best respond to the challenges of winter which may include a second coronavirus wave.”