On 31 July, plans for the next – third – phase of the NHS response to the COVID-19 pandemic, effective from 1 August 2020, were set out in a letter from the Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens & Chief Operating Officer Amanda Pritchard; this includes providers of community services.
The Government has agreed that the NHS Emergency Preparedness, Resilience and Response (EPRR) incident level will move from Level 4 (national) to Level 3 (regional) with effect from 1 August. This approach matches the differential regional measures the Government is deploying and builds on the guidance set out in the COVID-19 restoration of community health services for children and young people: second phase of NHS response to “fully restore [the health visiting] service, with some prioritisation where indicated and as capacity dictates”.
The priorities for this phase are:
- Accelerating the return to near-normal levels of non-Covid health services, making full use of the capacity available in the ‘window of opportunity’ between now and winter
- Preparation for winter demand pressures, alongside continuing vigilance in the light of further probable Covid spikes locally and possibly nationally.
- Doing the above in a way that takes account of lessons learned during the first Covid peak; locks in beneficial changes; and explicitly tackles fundamental challenges including: support for our staff, and action on inequalities and prevention.