Published 18 May 2020
Covid-19 has placed never seen before demands on the NHS. Many NHS Trusts entered the crisis with a limited understanding of the severity or length of the potential impact and what this would mean for their capacity, especially the number of available critical care and hospital beds. There is still considerable uncertainty and now, as the initial peak passes, hospitals face the challenge of recovery and ongoing risks from Covid-19.
Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS FT (SFH)commissioned Edge Health to provide analytical support to help inform the evidence base that has supported its decision making during and after the initial crisis. The outputs were shared within the organisation, including clinical leaders, and with system-partners to foster a coherent response. This response enabled SFH to safely deliver critical services, such as cancer treatment, while also meeting demands from Covid-19.
Simon Barton, the Chief Operating Officer at SFH, commented:
“we recognised early that we needed to understand what the likely capacity we would need to cope with Covid-19 admissions both generally and in ICU and Edge provided us with a forecast based on a number of parameters, it was invaluable in our plans and helped us ensure we always had a bed for a patient when they needed it”
As the initial peak of Covid-19 now declines, SFH is looking ahead to the risk it, like other hospitals in the NHS, faces from a spike of non-elective demand and urgent elective cases. This risk has built up during the Covid-19 crisis as many people with health needs have not used health services – possibly due to the risk of Covid-19 or because of lockdown measures deterring travel. While some of this demand may not materialise, the potential for some to return is significant – see second chart.
SFH is now using the Edge modelling to plan and implement its Covid-19 recovery. This planning means having capacity that goes beyond meeting demands from Covid-19, but creating confidence to run the full breadth of its services. This has allowed SFH to have a firmer view on the latent demand it faces, so that it can plan with greater confidence.
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