About the Author: Rachel Smyth

11 October 2021

With a growing waiting list of more than 5 million people across health and care services in England and Wales, the Coalition for Personalised Care has launched work to draw together best practice from across the country in tackling the treatment backlog which developed as a result of the pandemic.

We are now calling for evidence as part of that work, recognising that this is one of the greatest challenges facing our health and care system; one which will take years to address, but also requires immediate improvements in treatment and care services.

Knowing that good personalised care practices can make a tangible difference, both immediately and in reshaping more compassionate healthcare in the longer term, we are committed to helping determine how the challenge is approached.

As a result, we are seeking a wide range of evidence of current good practice that can be replicated and scaled up, as well as insights into those most in need of support that will help determine relative priorities for action.

We are hoping to hear from both organisations and individuals from a wide variety of communities across the country.

We will accept contributions in a variety of forms, including:

  • formal research findings and case studies
  • direct interviews with or personal stories from those needing or receiving treatment/care and from frontline staff
  • signposting to relevant recently published reports or commentary
  • statements on what are felt to be the key issues or changes that are needed to reduce the scale and impact of the current situation.

This work will form part of a new resource, made widely accessible to others, as well as informing a formal report designed to influence thinking and encourage new approaches.

Kim Ryley, Co-Chair of the Coalition for Personalised Care, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to make a real difference in tackling one of the greatest challenges our health and care system has ever faced, particularly by rethinking and reshaping our current models of care and treatment to make them more compassionate and personalised to individual needs and preferences.

“Based on the growing evidence of what works best for both those giving and those receiving care, with your help, we will collectively be in a better position to guide the thinking and practice of those at the frontline who are exhausted and desperate for new approaches which remind them why they chose to join the caring professions.

“Similarly, those awaiting diagnosis and treatment want to have easy access to local support which will enable them to play a greater role in their own care, both while waiting and afterwards.”

Some shortened extracts of submissions we have already received:

British Heart Foundation

‘Despite the heroic efforts of everyone across the health and care system to respond to the needs of all patients, millions of people have not been able to access the care they need to stay well. And fast on the heels of the pandemic, the health service is already grappling with its next challenge: clearing the backlog in care that has accumulated while it was focussed on saving lives from Covid-19. In many cases, clinicians are being placed in the unenviable position of making decisions about delaying treatment and ultimately, people living with heart disease stand to suffer.

There are green shoots of recovery, and there is incredible will in the NHS to address current problems quickly. BHF modelling that suggests it could take between 2.5 and 5 years to return to pre-pandemic waiting times in England does not have to turn into reality. But this will require strong Government support and leadership with targeted interventions at key points in the health system.

To tackle the backlog of cardiovascular care and transform outcomes, a clear national cardiovascular strategy for recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is needed. This strategy must focus on infrastructure, the NHS workforce and how to empower people with heart and circulatory diseases to manage and feel supported in their care. All of this must be backed up with clear leadership that prioritises cardiovascular health and the funding to sustain it.

You can learn more about the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact it has had on cardiovascular care, as well as our full list of recommendations at www.bhf.org.uk/untoldheartbreak

Diabetes UK

“Of a survey of 4,000 people with diabetes, one in three had consultations cancelled that have still not taken place, and one in three have not had contact with their diabetes team since the start of the pandemic. 45% of respondents reported having difficulties managing their diabetes during the pandemic, the majority of whom referred to a lack of access to care and support by their diabetes healthcare team as the reason. Local systems and clinical teams need to use available data and tools to prioritise delivery of routine diabetes care services and catch up on the backlog of appointments caused by coronavirus to avoid the potential serious consequences of missed appointments, checks and treatment. This focus on individual needs and gaps in care will play a significant role in reducing the burden on the NHS and enable healthcare professionals to pay greater attending in supporting people to self-manage their condition, rather than responding to the devastating consequences of lapsed care.”