New point-of-care testing technology boasts rapidly expanding capabilities, and a new piece of equipment from HORIBA offers under-pressure NHS frontline staff laboratory-accurate tests within minutes, allowing them to make quicker treatment decisions.
Even before the advent of COVID-19, the NHS frontline faced significant pressure over the winter period as demand for services generally increases considerably. The onset of cold weather can exacerbate respiratory system diseases and incidences of ‘seasonal illnesses’, such as flu and norovirus, also rise. Post pandemic, winter pressures and planning are now an even greater issue for acute, mental health, community and ambulance service trusts. Particularly since in recent years pressure has been building not only over the winter period, but throughout the year.
To help alleviate increasing pressures over the approaching winter period, particularly in Urgent and Emergency Care (UEC), NHS England this year started even earlier in their planning to increase capacity and operational resilience. The NHS provides care to over 100,000 UEC patients each week, but despite its best efforts, pressures have meant that there have been too many occasions when staff have not been able to provide timely access for patients in the way they would have wanted.1 Over this winter period there is a significant risk that these numbers will increase, as shown by UEC sitrep data from acute trusts published weekly by NHS England from the end of November in previous years.
NHS England has therefore been looking at ways by which these pressures on urgent and emergency care can be alleviated.1
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