COVID-19: Surge leaves key hospital services 'in crisis' (BBC)

Sakina Lakda
January 19, 2021

An alarming number of NHS hospital services have been affected by the surge of COVID-19. With an increasing number of patients being admitted to hospital than ever before, other key services such as cancer treatment have been cancelled as resources are stretched thin.  



Food for Thought

How might this affect the NHS in a post-Covid future?

There was a record 4.46 million [patients] on the waiting list for routine treatment, including knee and hip operations. More than 192,000 have waited more than one year - in February, before the pandemic started, the figure stood at 1,600. From these figures, we can identify that the NHS will have to rapidly prioritise these patients in a post-Covid future to makeup for this back-log. How do you think they can achieve this? What impact may this back-log have on the NHS and its workforce over the next few years? 

If we were to have more pandemics in the future, how would the NHS have to adapt to enable other services can run alongside emergency ones?

With a record number of 3,745 people in one day who had to wait over 12 hours for a hospital bed via A&E, it is evident that resources are already being stretched to unprecedented levels in the current Covid climate. With the addition of Brexit and its future consequences on the NHS, significant reforms will need to be implemented in order to sustain our healthcare system. This period will test the strength of the NHS and potentially question its survival. If the NHS fails to meet this demand, what changes may happen to healthcare in the UK? Will this lead to a push for privatising the NHS? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?


Practice Interview QUestions
  1. If you were the health minister, how would you plan a post-Covid strategy for the services that have been neglected? What services or patient demographic would you prioritise?
  2. In terms of medical ethics, what principles does the current NHS crisis comply with? Which one’s does it struggle to meet?
  3. Role Play: You are an F1 who is calling a patient on behalf of the busy consultant. They were scheduled to have hip replacement surgery this week, however it must be cancelled due to the overwhelming Covid crisis in hospitals. The patient has been awaiting this operation for 11 months and is feeling incredibly anxious. How would you break this news?


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