DHSC has announced this week (7 December 2022) the establishment of a new Elective Care Recovery Taskforce, as well as the opening of 19 new "one-stop-shop" community diagnostic centres (CDCs), as part of their efforts to reduce the soaring waiting times for NHS treatment.
The new Taskforce, which will be made up of ministers, academics and NHS and independent sector experts will work together to find new ways to reduce the backlog. Improved use of independent sector capacity is expected to be a focus, with over 450,000 appointments (6% of the total) in October 2022 being supported by independent providers, in particular in ophthalmology and orthopedic services.
The CDCs will be located in easy-to-access areas - football stadiums and shopping centres - to improve usage, add add to the 90+ CDCs already in operation. This would put the establishment of CDCs ahead of schedule from the plans set out by the department in February 2022 which we looked at in our update in February 2022
The new Taskforce has been broadly welcomed as just part of the solution as the NHS tackles up to 132,000 vacancies, a £10bn+ maintenance backlog, and long-standing bed-blocking.
For more detail on the taskforce and the location of the new CDCs see: Government turbocharges efforts to tackle COVID-19 backlogs - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Minister for Health, Will Quince, said: We are relentlessly focussed on tackling waiting lists and busting the COVID backlogs and this new taskforce will bring together experts from across the healthcare system. Doing so will ensure we’re using all the capacity available to us to improve care across the NHS and independent sector, and give patients more autonomy over when and where they are treated.