NHS England has announced that it will be accelerating the delivery of operations and other non-urgent services as part of a £8.1 billion plan to help the health service recover all patient services following the winter wave of COVID-19.
The plans will fund more support for staff who may be impacted by their experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. The NHS is rolling out 40 mental health hubs to help staff recover and hospitals are being encouraged to recruit more healthcare and medical support workers to ease the burden on existing staff.
Additionally, maternity services will be boosted by an additional £95million this year, including by creating new midwifery and obstetrician roles and providing more training and leadership programmes for midwives.
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‘More than a year after the NHS treated this country’s first COVID patients hospitals have now treated 390,000 patients critically ill with the virus, including more than 100,000 in January alone. But they have also pulled out all the stops to treat millions of people with other conditions, and the whole of NHS is now mobilising to roll out the biggest vaccination campaign in history,’ said Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of the NHS.
‘The NHS made good use of the summer and autumn, when infections and hospitalisations were lower, to restore services and begin tackling the backlog. With infections once again now falling, this investment will help nurses, doctors and other staff go further and faster in realising the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan while supporting them as they do so.’
The plans also includes a funding boost for mental health services with children and young people set to benefit from continued increases in access to community mental health services, and everyone will continue to benefit from beneficial changes made as part of the NHS COVID response, including 24/7 crisis mental health lines. In addition to being able to see their GP in person, patients will continue to be able to access GP appointments remotely as they have throughout the pandemic, with a further £10m of funding going towards video consultations.
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‘Thanks to the efforts of NHS staff, there have been huge improvements in maternity services for women in England over the last decade – from fewer still births and better post birth check-ups for new mums, to safely supporting the birth of up to 600,000 babies during the pandemic. Today’s report shows not just how safe it is to give birth in this country, but how we plan to make new and expectant mums’ experience of care better,’ said Professor Jackie Dunkley-Bent, NHS England’s Chief Midwifery Officer.
‘The funding means we can build on and accelerate progress and make maternity services in England safer and better for women, babies and their families.’