Living life remotely has become almost common practice for us all during the national lockdown – but is it time for hospitals to further embrace remote technology to deal with the backlog of patients following COVID-19?
Clarissa Pattinson, diagnostics specialist at HealthTrust Europe, discusses how outsourcing diagnostic services, such as histopathology reporting, to providers may be the answer to the elective care crisis.
As we start to come to terms with the fact that things may never go back to the way they were before the COVID-19 outbreak, we must begin looking at how to overcome the obstacles we face as we broach the ‘new normal.’ This is particularly true for the NHS which currently faces an unexpected side effect of the COVID-19 outbreak: the elective care crisis. As we continue to navigate our way out of the initial crisis, it is clear that COVID-19 is not the only health threat we are faced with as a nation, and we must now work together to find innovative solutions to tackle these new problems.
Pre-lockdown, the UK was already on the cusp of an elective care crisis – waiting times for elective treatments are the longest they have been since 2009, and the number of hospital outpatient visits has nearly doubled over the past decade.1 The elective care system was already under intense pressure to provide cancer, stroke and heart care services, and the enforced lockdown and sudden cancellation of almost all planned care from March onwards has compounded this crisis to severe levels. In fact, the latest figures reveal that the number of elective care hospital appointments that took place during the lockdown period dropped to approximately a quarter of their usual levels2 compared to before the lockdown, and the number remains extremely low despite hospitals prioritising how to approach elective care safely now that the peak of COVID-19 has been overcome.
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