The head of the NHS today said the health service was never overwhelmed by Covid during the height of the pandemic.
Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, told MPs expanding critical care, introducing new treatments and rolling out the vaccine prevented wards from being overrun over the last year-and-a-half. However, medics who worked on the frontlines during the first and second waves of immediately slammed their boss, accusing her of ‘gaslighting’.
Mrs Pritchard also warned the NHS is on course for a ‘tough winter’ and that a rise in Covid-infected patients would have a knock-on effect on how much other, planned care could be carried out.
She suggested pressures on the health service could see thousands more hospital treatments cancelled. More than 1.5million NHS ops were cancelled or delayed due to the chaos of the pandemic.
Her comments were echoed by Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who told MPs there is ‘huge pressure’ on the health service in England.
Mr Javid admitted there are ‘shortages’ of 999 call handlers after ex Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt raised the issue in the House of Commons. Meanwhile, paramedics also warned six-hour waits for ambulances could become ‘commonplace’ this winter.
The College of Paramedics claimed ambulances have been forced to wait outside of hospitals because of packed A&E wards, and warned that the problems will only get larger as winter demand picks up.