NHS is discovering better ways to operate as it battles Covid-19, consultant reveals

13 April 2020, 15:25

By Seán Hickey

Through action taken to streamline NHS services in the midst of coronavirus, the service is discovering how to lead change for the future.

Professor David Oliver is an NHS consultant and he revealed his excitement in how the NHS is discovering new efficient ways to operate as it fights the Covid-19 pandemic.

The consultant told Shelagh Fogarty that the NHS has had to think on its feet over how it operated with the resources it has and has come up with ideas that have significantly reduced the stress on the service.

He declared that changes in admissions and check out of hospitals have helped bring a faster turnover of treatment and has also given the NHS food for thought for how they can operate after te pandemic in a more efficient way.

He began by telling Shelagh that he has never felt scared to go into work in his 30 year career until this outbreak and has seen the fear in his colleagues spread as time has gone by.

He pointed out that the commitment of staff to "doing whatever we can to get through this" has opened many doors for staff to revolutionise the system and find new ways of working after coronavirus passes.

Shelagh wanted to know some of the methods that have been tested during the outbreak that have proved effective.

The NHS has adopted new ways of working through the Covid-19 pandemic
The NHS has adopted new ways of working through the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: PA

Professor Oliver said that the NHS have been thinking about ways to reach people post coronavirus "that would have normally come to hospital" that would think twice in future because of how the virus spread.

He also pointed out the new phenomenon of GPs taking appointments online to practice social distancing. He told Shelagh that this is another area in which the NHS can operate in the future as a better practice.

The NHS consultant also noted that by "cutting through bureaucracy and red tape to get people out of hospital sooner" the health service has seen a significant increase in the amount of patients they can treat in a given time frame. This is another aspect of coronavirus action that he claims will be looked at to implement in future.

The flaws of the NHS have also come into the limelight during the pandemic, especially a shortage of ICU beds. Whether the service should have more ICU capacity in hospitals is a point where Professor Oliver believes the NHS can improve in the future, but is cautious of funding and how such capacity will be implemented on such a tight budget.