According to recent data, there have been 1,521,711 patients awaiting their diagnostic tests in July in the UK, which is a lower number than in May and June and the lowest number since the plan’s publication in February.
The most critical callouts were handled by ambulance workers during the busiest summer ever, according to statistics. Between June and August, paramedics handled more than 237,000 category one occurrences, up by a third from pre-pandemic levels. The number of those who have been waiting more than 18 months has decreased by almost a third since January, to 51,838, indicating further headway has been made on the steepest waits.
Except in circumstances where the patient elects to wait longer or for extremely difficult illnesses requiring specialised care, the NHS aims to end 18-month wait times by April 2023. Dedicated NHS employees are making progress toward these goals despite seeing more patients with COVID-19 this summer than they did the previous two summers combined.
This summer, there were 8,479 patients with COVID-19 admitted to hospitals on average per day, compared to 3,313 in 2021 and 2,032 in 2020. Despite the heavy workload placed on urgent and emergency care, August saw improvements in both A&E efficiency and ambulance response times over July.
With the data revealing that 26,263 people began treatment in July and more people were examined for cancer after a GP emergency referral than in any other July, over 238,000 checks were performed. The number of individuals receiving cancer care and treatment continues to be quite high at 238,771.
Only 45% of patients were discharged when they were willing in August, and an average of 13,388 beds per day were occupied by patients who no longer needed to be in the hospital. These delays in patient discharge into the community and social care continue to place additional strain on hospital bed capacity. The NHS has already made plans to increase capacity in advance of the winter, including thousands of more beds; additional staff to handle 999 and 111 calls; and initiatives to ensure that patients are discharged as per schedule.
On the 5th of September, staff members began the most recent process of the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme. This week, they plan to visit 1,000 care facilities.
With England’s top doctor today pushing people to be vaccinated ahead of winter, the booking facility opened on September 7th for millions of eligible people to get in for their top-up shot next week. Despite another substantial wave of COVID infection this summer, this month’s figures show that they are making significant progress in reducing backlogs, with wait times of much more than 18 months down and the lowest number of patients awaiting tests and checks since they published their elective recovery plan, said Professor Sir Stephen Powis, national medical director of the NHS.
Despite responding to a record number of the most serious ambulance callouts throughout the summer, up a third from pre-pandemic levels-and ongoing difficulties discharging into the community and social care, they also saw advancements in A&E effectiveness and ambulance reaction times this month across all assessments, the report continued.
And with more 999 and 111 call handlers being hired and a comparable number of 7,000 more beds being made available, staff are already planning for a winter that is likely to be equally difficult.
This week, NHS employees began the most recent phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, visiting 1,000 care facilities. Powis said it is crucial that those who are eligible book appointments for next week without delay, in addition to continuing to use NHS services as usual, including calling 999 in an emergency and using NHS 111 online for other health conditions. The first variant-targeted vaccine will be available starting September 12 to frontline health and care professionals, immunosuppressed individuals, and people over 75.
The NHS is making every effort to be ready for the winter season, putting in place a number of new programmes to handle increased demand. The staff at South Warwickshire University NHS Foundation Trust are working hard to cut down on delayed discharges. Through their Hospital to Home service, a collaboration between the trust and Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, they are assisting older and more vulnerable patients who have been admitted to the hospital while evaluating potential hazards in their homes. In order to start treating frail patients early, in the appropriate setting, and to address the special problems their care needs, Warwick Hospital offers a frailty assessment area.
In its first year, the same-day emergency care centre at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust saw 15,000 patients, which helped cut down on wait times and overnight hospital stays. The specially designed unit provides diagnostic testing, treatment, and care that would otherwise call for a brief hospital stay or space in the hospital’s already overcrowded A&E. The service is already recognised as a national best practise example.