Covid-19 and surgery; ramping up delivery and addressing the backlog

The All-Party Health Group hosted a recent roundtable with MPs, Peers and voices from across the health sector discussing the challenges associated with continuing elective surgery over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. This was a very valuable discussion with surgeons, oncologists and nursing colleagues sharing an honest assessment of the difficulties in delivering surgical care with Members of Parliament and the House of Lords.

Speakers highlighted the importance of public health messaging and understanding that the NHS is open and a safe environment to receive surgery. Consideration was given to every stage of the patient pathway including the importance of ‘pre-habilitation’ to improve surgical outcomes as well as the capacity issues in operating and recovery during the pandemic. The discussion moved on to consider variation in surgery levels according to geography and surgery type.

Participants discussed the innovation that has taken place at pace over the course of the pandemic and the need to capture that and ensure good practise is replicated. The group identified significant areas of good practise in the use of community diagnostic hubs, new surgical technology and flexibility in service delivery. The roundtable produced clear recommendations to address the issues faced in surgical care: these include a surgical “new deal” to address the backlog in elective care, making improvements to prioritising surgical candidates, and establishing a sector led taskforce on elective care to ensure equality in access to and outcomes from surgical care.

Download the full outcomes paper from this page.