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RCS call at Senedd Health Committee: COVID-light sites needed to address “inequity of access” to treatment in Wales

02 Jul 2020

Giving evidence at the Senedd Health, Social Care and Sport Committee this morning, the Royal College of Surgeons has called for Welsh Government to make development of ‘COVID-light’ sites their key healthcare priority.  
Richard Johnson, Royal College of Surgeons Director (Wales), told members of the Senedd, “We are pushing quite strongly with government to get separate COVID treatment and non-COVID treatment. Some Health Boards are more advanced with their plans than others, so there is an inequity of access.”
Alongside Dr Esther Youd, Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in Wales, Mr Johnson has today (Thursday) written to Dr Andrew Goodall, Chief Executive of NHS Wales to call for safe management of non-COVID-19 conditions in hospitals.  
Citing evidence from Cancer Research UK and the Welsh Government of a significant drop in referrals, they say “radical changes” are needed “to ensure equity of access for patients in Wales and to avoid a postcode lottery of care”.  Their joint letter calls for COVID-light sites “to be planned strategically, across Health Board boundaries with a consistent, transparent approach.”  The RCS is also calling for continued use of capacity in independent sector hospitals to ensure NHS patients can continue to access treatment.
Commenting, Mr Richard Johnson said:
“We have a duty to patients. They have done their bit during the COVID crisis by obeying lockdown rules and protecting the NHS.  We now need to get on and be able to offer them the treatment they need.  Getting fair access to COVID-light sites across Wales is absolutely critical to that effort.  Members of the Senedd will have heard that loud and clear at this morning’s session.”



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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