12 July 2021: The Patients Association has joined other organisations in calling on the Prime Minister to think twice before lifting all COVID-19 restrictions next week (19 July 2021).  
 
Rachel Power, Chief Executive, said: “Patients are concerned about the NHS becoming overwhelmed by a major rise in COVID-19 infections. Many hospitals are already facing winter-like pressures, and some are having to cancel some routine care, despite record waiting lists.
 
“The NHS should be given the breathing space to work through the backlog of treatment, which it won’t be able to do if cases escalate because all restrictions on our behaviours are lifted. If the health service cannot make a dent in waiting lists any time soon, that will mean more misery for patients.
 
“The most effective way to protect the NHS and keep regular non-COVID care available for patients, is to keep infection levels low. Social distancing and face mask requirements should be kept in place until the data show it’s safe to do away with the restrictions.
 
“Even after so many months, there is still broad public support for these measures, so there is no need to change them. Confusion and mixed messages, such as turning firm rules into weaker guidance, will lead to rising infection levels, inflict needless ill health and disability from long COVID on many people, and send waiting times even higher.”

Pandemic Patient Experience surveys

The Patients Association has carried out two surveys into patients’ experience of seeking healthcare during the pandemic.  Both last summer’s survey and this spring’s found patients had had difficulty in accessing health and care services, and in the last survey more than half of respondents had stayed away from the NHS because of the pandemic.  Any Governmental advice that would worsen access to care, could have a devastating impact on thousands of patients who have waited months for care.

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The Patients Association’s Pandemic Patient Experience reports are available on our website. 
Pandemic Patient Experience II
Pandemic Patient Experience I