The NHS faces a challenging winter but MPs can trust that plans are in place to cope
Winter will come hot on the heels of an extremely busy summer for NHS staff who are facing significant pressure on various fronts.
The most recently published figures show that the most serious ambulance call outs in September were up by a fifth compared to the same month before the pandemic.
Despite the pressure, NHS staff are delivering record numbers of GP appointments, providing more mental health support for people than ever before as well as delivering on our elective recovery plan. Since it was published, we have virtually eliminated the number of people waiting two years for treatment, and the number waiting 18 months is already down by a quarter.
Record numbers of people are getting checked for cancer – around 400,000 fewer people came forward during the pandemic than before, and now thanks to the hard work of staff, since July, we have fully caught up on those.
In every part of the country, staff are working to ensure that we are as prepared as we can be
I have said many times that the pandemic was, of course, difficult but the recovery challenge could be even more difficult.
And, the NHS faces the toughest winter of my career and potentially the toughest winter in its history.
We have talked about a twindemic of flu and Covid and the threat of that is very real.
Vaccines are still our best defence and more than half of all those eligible for a Covid-19 autumn booster have received their top up dose, and NHS teams are delivering thousands of flu vaccines a day, with an online booking system in most areas for the first time.
But our planning does not stop at vaccination. Last month we announced a set of new winter measures including 24/7 control centres, falls response services and hubs dedicated to serious respiratory infections.
This is on top of a series of actions outlined in summer, where we announced how we will create extra bed capacity and recruit more call handlers working in NHS 111 and 999.
In every part of the country, staff are working to ensure that we are as prepared as we can be – and the really important thing is that people continue to come forward for the care they need if they have health concerns.
I know there is plenty to discuss and MPs will have questions from constituents about how the health service is planning to cope with winter pressures, which is why we have arranged a dedicated event in Parliament for so you can speak to us directly about our plans.
Together with our chief operating officer David Sloman and our chief nursing officer Ruth May, we will be hosting an event in Parliament on the afternoon of Wednesday 23 November, and would love it if MPs could join us.
If you would like to attend, please RSVP to email@example.com and we can share further details.
Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive.
If you are unable to attend the event and are still interested in hearing more about the work of the NHS, please do get in touch with the NHS England team by emailing the MP inbox. Or, if you would like to see the brilliant work being done on the ground to tackle the elective backlog in your constituency, please also get in touch with us and we would be happy to help arrange a visit with the appropriate team.
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