Report: “COVID-19 saw the transformation of the NHS into the national service of COVID”

A joint report by the Public Services Research Center and Edge Health Health Analysis Company highlighted the sharp impact the pandemic had on NHS England as a complete health service, saying that “the system has become too focused on short-term crisis response to basic maintenance. non-COVID services. “

With the vast majority of resources diverted to strengthening the front against COVID-19, what was seen as irrelevant services and procedures was put on hold, resulting in deteriorating health, a growing backlog of procedures and thousands of surplus deaths. associated with COVID.

It states: “The majority of non-COVID care was stopped by the cancellation of emergency procedures and the cessation of patient referrals, probably due to a combination of fear of catching COVID-19 and unwillingness to place an additional burden on health services. This meant that some health professionals, as highlighted in several interviews conducted for this article, remained “thumbs up” because there was little work not covered by COVID. “


The report not only draws attention to the real implications of decisions made during the pandemic, but also highlights how the NHS England response has been shaped by chronic staff shortages, insufficient funding and inconsistent data quality and availability.

After interviews with 23 individuals and health organizations, the report provided a list of nine recommendations taken from the data. These included: publishing recovery plans for the waiting list for the procedure; State funding for multiple hospital beds; building diagnostic hubs in the community; and a reserve list of health workers who could be called to the NHS in crisis situations.

The recommendations also recognized the role of data and technology, stating that “NHS England was not equipped with the right technology to have a unique view of key operational data” at the start of the pandemic. Recognizing the progress made in digital deployment over the past year, the report points to the need for improved privacy and more uniform digital routes moving forward, recommending, for example, the adoption of Scan4Safety for all NHS Trusts, which allows access to data collected accurately and securely from barcodes.

The technology can also be used to support other recommendations, such as end-to-end supply chain maps, which identify firms that could switch production to diagnostic equipment, an up-to-date list of key assets such as PPE and fans, and crisis targets. training modules for health professionals.


The report does not explicitly focus on other issues suffered by the NHS during the pandemic, such as labor burnout and the resilience of the social protection sector, as the authors believe these topics deserve their own research work.


The report says: “Technology must play a key role in the recovery and future resilience of the NHS. Digital healthcare applications can be used for a range of concerns, from optimizing the use of diagnostic equipment to helping patients manage their conditions at home. However, the true harnessing of the power of technology depends on quality data. The NHS struggles with accessing and analyzing the right data at the right time to make informed, evidence-based decisions. In addition to data quality problems, healthcare data can often be trapped in clumsy and old protected systems – meaning they cannot be extracted from these systems or shared appropriately.

It continues: “There are several upcoming reviews and strategies in the area of ​​health data, and DHSC recently announced a review of the use of health data for research and analysis. There will also be a Data Strategy for Health and Social Welfare that will determine the direction of data use in the post-pandemic health system. These are all crucial steps in the right direction. “