The COVID-19 pandemic has been the greatest challenge the health service has faced since its creation. In the face of immense challenge, NHS staff have gone above and beyond, working tirelessly with local partners to rise to the occasion.
Our NHS Reset campaign aims to recognise both the sacrifice and achievements of the health and care sector’s response to COVID-19. As the nation unites to thank the NHS on its 72nd anniversary, we've curated reflections from our members, partners and staff on the health service's remarkable achievements over this period.
Lord Victor Adebowale, Chair, NHS Confederation
"I remain in awe of the mighty efforts with which NHS staff have confronted the COVID-19 pandemic. I offer my sincerest thanks to all who have participated in these efforts across the whole health and care system as the NHS celebrates its 72nd anniversary."
Raj Jain, Chief Executive, Northern Care Alliance NHS Group
"We have many things that we are proud of, designed and delivered by our staff working together in an integrated way. This includes COVID-19 hubs in primary care instead of walk-in centres, virtual hospitals, input into intermediate care, testing (particularly early testing of care home staff), the end-of-life care pathway across the system, the repurposing of a hospital site into a urgent/cancer COVID-free surgical centre, reaching seldom-heard groups through faith leaders and other community leaders, and shared policies (PPE, HR, among others) are some examples." Find out more.
Kate Shields, Chief Executive, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
"The whole COVID-19 period has exploded so many myths that any thought of a return to our previous imperfect incarnation is unpalatable and there is commitment from leaders across the system to protect some of the gains that have been achieved. The crisis has helped us to understand some of the factors that previously held us back and get to the heart of some of the caution that had stifled change under ‘normal’ circumstances. We are seeing fantastic results and the models that we are developing are much more clearly linked to the needs of the population that we serve, rather than the demands of individual organisational or professional siloes." Find out more.
Dr Shaun O’Hanlon, Chief Medical Officer, EMIS Group
"The digital transformation of healthcare during the pandemic has been nothing short of remarkable. In primary care, it happened literally overnight. Graphs of GP appointments show that, on 9 March, face-to-face appointments began a dramatic plunge while telephone consultations soared. NHS Digital statistics show that 48 per cent of all appointments in April were conducted by phone." Find out more.
David Liley, Chief Officer, Healthwatch Brighton and Hove
"In collaboration with the NHS and local councils, we found ways to work at speed, overcome red tape, and get help to people just when and where they needed it." Find out more.
Professor Donna Hall CBE, Chair of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust
"We have seen the innovation possible through that integration in organising care and support in the interests of people and communities. We have seen the reward this provides to GPs, rooted through decades in service to specific neighbourhood, now gaining the benefit of pooling talent and commitment with colleagues in social care, community health and local community organisations and engaging with residents in the context of their whole life." Find out more.
Neil Thwaite, Chief Executive, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust
"Working in mental health has meant that many of our staff have had a raised awareness and first-hand experience of the psychological impacts of crises. We have been overwhelmed by their fantastic response to the crisis. All staff have gone the extra mile, continuing to place their primary focus on the welfare of our service users while also supporting colleagues inside and outside our organisation." Find out more.
Ella Joseph, Co-Chief Executive, Think Ahead
"Overall, we found a picture of teams working incredibly hard, in very stressful conditions, to put creative solutions in place and provide the best possible care. I am blown away by the speed and effectiveness of their immediate crisis response." Find out more.
Darren Hughes, Director, Welsh NHS Confederation
"Volunteering and community spirit have always been at the heart of our society in Wales. The coronavirus pandemic has seen people come forward to help the health and care service in unprecedented numbers." Find out more.
Staff across the NHS Confederation have been working closely with members during the emergency response to COVID-19 and beyond. We asked them what has struck them about the health service's achievements over this period. Here's what they told us:
Ruth Rankine, Director, PCN Network
- The level of innovation in primary care and the significant increase in use of technology to support patient care.
- Collaboration across general practice and with other local providers."
Sarah Walter, Regional Lead for the South West
- Mutual aid across organisational and sectoral boundaries.
- Improved patient pathways by working closer together across health and care.
- Stronger personal relationships between clinical staff.
Rory Deighton, Regional Lead for the North West
- Partnership working has been improved across the board.
- Created a lean, agile and transformative culture that puts patients and clinicians at the heart of NHS decisions.
- Stripped away unnecessary governance and assurance.
Chloe Knight, Membership and Communications Manager, Mental Health Network
- Mental health providers pivoted to support the acute sector by freeing up beds at the beginning of the crisis.
- Accelerated achievement of goals in the Long Term Plan.
- Increased innovation and use of digital to deliver services where appropriate
Rezina Hakim, Senior Policy and Delivery Manager, NHS Clinical Commissioners
- Strong focus on health inequalities, and especially the black and minority ethnic community.
- Fast-paced work with local care homes and working with local authorities.
- Redeployment of nurses team into other areas.
- Fewer referrals (almost none) for evidence-based interventions procedures.
Paula Lavis, Member Network and Policy Manager, NHS Clinical Commissioners
- Improved performance of ambulance service
- Reduced number of people being conveyed to emergency departments.
- Acceleration of development of all-age mental health crisis lines in all areas.
- System coming together to provide support for staff – including mental health and wellbeing support.
Our NHS Reset campaign will continue to recognise the health and care sector's achievements and will support members as they look to restart local service provision. Find out more about the campaign.
If you would like to showcase your organisation's COVID-19 innovations and ingenuity, get in touch.