North East NHS shake-up could help clear backlog after covid, Northumberland chiefs told

A planned overhaul of the NHS in the North East could help clear treatment backlogs caused by the coronavirus pandemic, health chiefs have said.

By James Harrison
Thursday, 17th June 2021, 12:16 pm
Health changes are planned for Northumberland
Health changes are planned for Northumberland

The latest figures have suggested more than five million people across the UK have been waiting for hospital care since April.

But it is hoped an impending reorganisation to bring all health and social care services in the North East and north Cumbria under a single Integrated Care System (ICS) will help get patients to the specialists they need to see faster.

Mark Adams, CEO of North East and North Cumbria ICS, said: “I think everybody is aware of the effects of the pandemic, on people, their communities and families at the moment.

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“[They’re also aware of] what it means for the restoration of services, people waiting for appointments or waiting for operations.

“We have a provider collaborative that is already starting to work on those things and this direction of travel, where organisations are going to be working together more collaboratively, will all help us tackle some of those things.”

Adams was speaking at this week’s (Tuesday, June 15) meeting of Northumberland County Council’s Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Some members of the panel however were sceptical about whether the latest round of reforms would really improve services, with Cllr Georgina Hill pointing out patients in the county are regularly asked to travel to multiple sites for care.

Responding, Sir James Mackey, CEO of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, acknowledged the ‘hassle’ faced by some and promised to raise potential issues with planners working on the changes.

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