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Hospital chiefs keen to restart operations as covid peak passes

Several acute trust chief executives have told HSJ they are keen to resume more planned operations, as the peak of new coronavirus cases has passed and many hospital beds remain empty.

Some trust leaders said they believed routine elective surgery could be restarted as early as next week. There is also tension between NHS hospitals — some of which are keen to resume their own planned care, especially the more urgent operations — and a desire to use private hospitals, which have been booked out by NHS England.

The government said yesterday the number of people in hospitals with COVID-19 has fallen by 10% over the last week. Around 42% of acute beds are now unoccupied, according to figures seen by HSJ. The peak of new infection cases in hospitals was at about 3,000 on 1 April — the number is now about half that figure.

However, there will be fears nationally about the NHS seeking to return to normal and being caught out by ongoing COVID-19 pressures, or by a second peak of infections. 

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Source: HSJ, 24 April 2020


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