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RCS comment as NHS Improvement and NHS England set out the NHS’s ‘winter priorities’

10 Sep 2018

NHS Improvement published its review of the NHS in winter 2017/18 on Friday (September 7th) which can be read here. Pauline Philip, National Director of Urgent and Emergency Care at NHS England and NHS Improvement, has also written to all Trusts setting out the NHS’s priorities for this winter.

Commenting on this, Professor Derek Alderson, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, said: "Any initiative that helps to prevent a repeat of last winter’s pressures can only be helpful. We are particularly supportive of reinstating the National Escalation Pressures Panel, to ensure clinicians buy into plans, and trying to reduce the variation in length of stay for the same procedure across hospitals. However, until the Government resolves the social care question then trying to reduce the number of long staying patients in hospital will remain a Sisyphean task.

"NHS Improvement are again asking Trusts to ensure that their waiting lists are no longer at March 2019 than they were at March 2018. At present this looks difficult to achieve, particularly given there has been no planned surgery catch-up exercise following last winter.

"Today’s short-term measures are a step in the right direction. But the forthcoming 10-year plan must chart a path to building the capacity that is necessary to provide the timely planned and emergency care that patients rightly expect."

Notes to editors

The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.

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