New surgical hubs welcome but a larger workforce and more investment in the NHS estate is needed
Responding to the Department of Health and Social Care's announcement that over 50 new surgical hubs are set to open across the country, Rory Deighton, senior acute lead at the NHS Confederation, said:
“Teams across the NHS are increasing activity and making significant strides in recovering services for patients, with most hospitals virtually clearing their 104-week waiters before the July deadline and colleagues in primary care delivering 26 million GP appointments in the same month alone, after what has now been years of pandemic-related disruption.
“While this announcement does not appear to be new money for the NHS, health leaders recognise the value that the additional surgical hubs will play in chipping away at the Covid backlogs and offer hundreds of thousands more patients quicker access to vital procedures.
“However, the NHS is carrying 105,000 vacancies and needs a larger workforce including better retention of existing staff who are exhausted from the pandemic and further investment in a crumbling estate if it is to make full use of these new surgical hubs and meet patient need.
“NHS leaders have been clear that the next Prime Minister must also prioritise providing more capital investment, a funded workforce plan and a proper support package for social care and its workforce. It is critical both candidates level with the public in terms of what the NHS needs as we face the difficult winter ahead.”