With tens of thousands of NHS beds still closed (NHS Improvement has refused to reveal an updated figure since the Health Service Journal in April revealed 37,000 beds were unoccupied) NHS England’s focus appears to be on a multi-billion pound deal to utilise private hospitals.
This raises serious questions over the future of the many services including A&E departments “temporarily” closed during the peak of the Covid crisis, many of which NHS bosses had sought to scale back in previous plans.
There have been protests in Grantham in Lincolnshire over the downgrading of its day time only A&E to an Urgent Treatment Centre, with emergency admissions diverted to Lincoln or to Boston, each 30 miles away.
Questions have been asked in the Commons over the “temporary” closure of already reduced A&E services in Chorley, Lancashire, and concerns have been raised locally over other “temporary” closures of A&Es in Cheltenham and Weston super Mare, and emergency surgery in Ealing Hospital.
Full story in The Lowdown, 23 June 2020