NHS - Still Open

NHS Still Open

We are waiting the government’s road map for easing the lockdown

Commentators have been saying that the slogan ‘Stay At Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives’ will be a difficult message to dislodge from people’s minds. As much as we might be desperate to go out and about many people will be scared to resume anything like some kind of normality. Sadly, that will include accessing the NHS or routine tests and consultations. This is a real issue because we know that early detection of some conditions can also save lives and change the outcome for many.

Very recently, the Commons Health Select Committee has been looking at the knock-on effect of regular day-to-day NHS health treatments

These include cancer treatment, mental health, maternity care etc. We have almost forgotten the fact that people are still getting ill from non Covid ailments. These don’t make the news and many people think the NHS is too overwhelmed to deal with anything other than an emergency. The pandemic is definitely deterring some people from accessing treatment. This is not ideal.

There has been a massive reduction in turnout for medical appointments

Dame Kelly Palmer, National Cancer director of from NHS England said, when she addressed the committee that 15000 people booked for appointments but there was a 62 % reduction in turn out. She too reiterated that early detection and treatment of some diseases is extremely important and should not be ignored.

People are not accessing Mental Health Services

Claire Murdock, NHS England’s Mental Health Director of CAMS – the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services said that there has been a reduction in those seeking help with mental health assessments, therapy and other interventions for children, young people up to the age of 18 years. This also extends to their families or identified carers when any young person is experiencing any type of emotional or mental health difficulties.

Reduction in referrals CAMS have been significant even though CAMS has been open for business throughout the pandemic.

They have continued treatment for those known to them but also Claire Murdock also emphasised that the organisation wanted to see new referrals even though referral routes have been disrupted. These routes would have normally been through schools and primary care, A&E. Therefore, she is encouraging people to seek help.

In addition, some maternity services have had to stop home births
Jill Walton of the London College of Midwifes said that homes births have been suspended due to midwifery and paramedic capacity. There was no choice but to make those decisions. These changes really upset women who have opted for a home birth. However, Jill Walton did say that the London College of Midwives would support home births as a safe and viable option going forward.
High risk pregnancies should not go undetected

While NHS Midwives have continued their work former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt also said that some higher risk pregnancies might not be detected as a consequence of missing scans or face to face appointments. It is essential that women should maintain their schedules as many precautions are in place to maintain their safety in the hospital or clinic environment.

Fear should not stop people attending hospitals for non-Covid symptoms

Walton agrees and shares the concerns. She believes this probably is a fear throughout the pregnant population about presenting to maternity services through the pandemic. This fear prevents them even picking up the phone to call a midwife to say that they may feel unwell or they have got reduced foetal movements. Never underestimate the importance of
continued communication.

There has been a big backlog in treatment but also considerable change in working practices.

Some of these changes have been significant and welcome. Martin Marshall of the Royal College of GPs said that some of these innovations should be kept. For example, he had
been given a secure laptop with secure access to confidential patient records. This has enabled him to offer virtual services. Therefore, the small investment in that kind of
technology has been ‘spot on’ he says, as it has allowed or remote consultations. These are not always appropriate but for many they can be convenient and solve a problem easily and quickly. However, Martin Marshall says that the future should be somewhere between where we were and where we are now.

All of this has highlighted the super-human efforts of staff to keep the NHS open for non-urgent and non Covid 19 cases and it sends a very strong message that those with non-Coronavirus symptoms should still come forward and not wait. Put your mind at rest and contact your medical professional right now.

Vivienne K Neal – VKN Digital

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