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The wider impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the NHS

Carol Propper, George Stoye and Ben Zaranko
Journal article | Fiscal Studies, Volume 41, Issue 2

The coronavirus pandemic has had huge impacts on the National Health Service (NHS). Patients suffering from the illness have placed unprecedented demands on acute care, particularly on intensive care units (ICUs). This has led to an effort to dramatically increase the resources available to NHS hospitals in treating these patients, involving reorganisation of hospital facilities, redeployment of existing staff and a drive to bring in recently retired and newly graduated staff to fight the pandemic. These increases in demand and changes to supply have had large knock‐on effects on the care provided to the wider population. This paper discusses likely implications for healthcare delivery in the short and medium term of the responses to the coronavirus pandemic, focusing primarily on the implications for non‐coronavirus patients. Patterns of past care suggest those most likely to be affected by these disruptions will be older individuals and those living in more deprived areas, potentially exacerbating pre‐existing health inequalities. Effects are likely to persist into the longer run, with particular challenges around recruitment and ongoing staff shortages.

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