NHS England preparing for ‘toughest winter on record’ as respiratory infections rise

Hospital triage - Credit Cryptographer / Shutterstock.com

NHS England is preparing for what they say will be the “toughest winter on record” as COVID-19 and flu infections begin to rise.

The NHS said on Tuesday, October 18 that it was making preparations for the suspected onslaught. A letter sent to all NHS Trusts by the executive said that “the coming weeks and months will be difficult.

“We continue to be in a Level 3 incident, and services are under continued, significant pressure, with challenges including timely discharge of patients impacting on patient flow within hospitals, alongside ongoing pressures in mental health services.”

To cope with expected volumes 24/7 care rooms and care traffic control centres being set up across the country. They will be managed by teams of clinicians and experts according to Sky News, who will be tasked with managing demand and capacity.

The teams will also monitor bed availability as they will attendance at hospitals, enabling them to redirect resources where necessary.

The first time such a system will be in use within the NHS, it is hoped that it will allow for faster decision-making and the redirection of resources when required. It will also allow for patients to be redirected to hospitals with capacity.

Rapid response teams are also being set up to help those who can be dealt with in their homes, which they hope will reduce the number of hospital trips and admissions. This they believe could free up as many as 55,000 ambulance journeys this winter.

Care homes will also receive support to help with those who have falls, these accounting for around 40 per cent of all admissions from this group.

Around-the-clock mental health support is also said to be on the cards.

On top of that, NHS chiefs have vowed to roll out around-the-clock access to professional mental health advice within ambulance services to help give more people access to the correct community support.

With frontline staff shortages, it is not known where NHS England will get the required resources from as it prepares for the “toughest winter on record.”


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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected].

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