Our campaign to use the summer period to prepare for the winter ahead.
The winter of 2020/21 has been like no other. The peak of the second wave coinciding with winter pressures has placed a significant burden on the Urgent and Emergency Care system. As we recover from the pandemic, the NHS faces significant challenges in tackling the elective backlog and managing the demand from easing coronavirus restrictions. We must use the summer months effectively to prepare for the challenges ahead. Our Summer to Recover campaign outlines a series of recommendations to ensure that Emergency Departments do not become the system failure service this winter.
The NHS could not cope with winter pressures before the pandemic. Every winter elective surgery was compromised. Crowding and corridor care, which were experienced all year round in many departments, became increasingly dangerous, and this became particularly visible with ambulances queuing outside Emergency Departments. The pandemic has shone a brighter light on these system failures.
Without adequate planning, Emergency Departments will be forced to sustain other parts of the health and social care service. This will result in a dangerous return to crowding and corridor care, which should never be the accepted norm of system pressures. Planning for winter must start now. Below we outline a series of important actions to winter-proof the Urgent and Emergency Care system.