Impossible demands to step-up and redesign services

Plans for restarting urgent and elective NHS services, announced in a 13-page circular from NHS England to NHS chief executives and accountable officers on July 31, depend upon the rapid roll-out of a new network of Community Diagnostic Hubs – which, according to the HSJ have not yet secured funding, and for which there are as yet no local plans, or staffing so far in place.

The proposals are part of a complex volley of proposals and instructions fired off by NHS England at the peak of the summer holiday period, with impossibly short deadlines for implementation.

The disconnect between NHS England’s voluminous top-down instructions and requirements on local trusts and commissioners on the one hand, and the availability of the resources to make it possible on the other, has seldom been more stark.

But the creation of Community Diagnostic Hubs is only one of many unanswered questions to arise from NHS England’s letter, the subsequent 46-page guidance document  ‘Implementing phase 3 of the NHS response to the COVID-19 pandemic,’ published on August 7, and the even further delayed  ‘Hospital Discharge Service: Policy and Operating Model’ which did not emerge until August 21.

Full article in The Lowdown, 14 September 2020