RCS England response to NHS system letter
31 Jul 2020
Commenting on Sir Simon Stevens’ and Amanda Pritchard's letter to the NHS system, on restoring services, Professor Neil Mortensen, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England said:
“It is right that the system pulls out all the stops to get planned surgery going again in every corner of the country.
“There are thousands of patients on a ‘hidden waiting list’, waiting to be referred into the system, and thousands who had already been waiting some time at the start of the crisis, and have now waited more than a year.
“We have to deal first with the most clinically urgent patients, and then as soon as possible with those who have been waiting the longest. The period through August and September is vitally important in making progress before routine winter pressures emerge.
“Getting patients treated is critically dependent on capacity, so it is essential the NHS uses its contracts in the independent sector efficiently, and that ‘COVID-light’ areas are established where surgery can continue even if there is a further rise in coronavirus cases.
“The proposal to end the current independent sector national contract in March 2021 should be reviewed at the turn of the year. It may well be that these arrangements have to stay in place to ensure patients get the treatment they need.
“It is also essential that surgical trainees are accommodated by independent hospitals so that they get the time they need in theatre, and the experience necessary to deliver more treatment.”
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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