NHS plans ‘war rooms’ as staff face their toughest winter in decades amid appointments backlog and fear of Covid resurgence
- NHS opening ‘war rooms’ ahead of one of the toughest winters in 74-year history
- The aim is to avoid ‘unnecessary trips’ to hospital during the peak season
- ‘Respiratory infection hubs’ will offer out-of-hospital care for Covid and flu
The NHS is setting up ‘war rooms’ as it prepares for one of the toughest winters in its 74-year history.
‘Winter resilience plans’ announced in a letter to staff include new 24-hour control centres in every area which will manage demand and capacity by tracking beds and attendances.
These will be led by ‘clinicians and experts’ who can make quick decisions, said NHS England (NHSE), which also announced plans to treat more fall victims at home.
The aim is to avoid ‘unnecessary trips’ to hospital and release around 55,000 ambulance journeys each year.
The aim is to avoid ‘unnecessary trips’ to hospital and release around 55,000 ambulance journeys each year
Other plans include ‘respiratory infections hubs’ offering same-day out-of-hospital care for Covid, flu, acute bronchitis and pneumonia.
More hospital beds, more 111 and 999 call handlers and 24/7 access to professional mental health advice in ambulance services are also planned.
Chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: ‘The NHS is going further than it ever has before in anticipation of a busy winter.’
She urged all those eligible for a flu or Covid vaccine to book one urgently.
Ms Pritchard added: ‘Winter comes hot on the heels of an extremely busy summer – and with the combined impact of flu, Covid and record NHS staff vacancies – in many ways, we are facing more than the threat of a ‘twindemic’ this year.
‘So it is right that we prepare as much as possible… and today we have set out further plans to step up these preparations – building on our existing plans to boost capacity set out in August this year.’
Chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: ‘The NHS is going further than it ever has before in anticipation of a busy winter’