South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw Integrated Care System has been chosen as one of the 13 systems to receive a share of £160million in funding and extra support to implement and evaluate innovative ways to increase the number of elective operations they deliver.
Far more people were able to access routine tests and treatment during the second wave of the pandemic than the first, despite hospitals caring for more Covid patients.
Helped by the success of the vaccine programmes, hospitals are now dealing with far fewer Covid cases and the NHS is now supporting all local health systems in England to treat as many patients whose care was unavoidably disrupted by the pandemic as quickly as possible.
The South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS plans include working with clinicians to improve capacity and streamline pathways, offering advice and guidance from clinical specialists to support primary care colleagues, developing plans for even more joined up work across the region, particularly for orthopaedics, ophthalmology and paediatric surgery and making best use of a wide range of providers.
System lead for the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS, Sir Andrew Cash, said: “We’re delighted to be named among the first wave of health and care systems to trial the NHS Routine Care Recovery Plan.
"Our strong track record and historical high-performance, particularly when it comes to innovation, means we are able to quickly mobilise the national blueprint development.
“As a mature ICS, our longstanding partnerships across the NHS, primary care, local authorities and community and voluntary sector will ensure we can make the very best use of resources and utilise the wide range of expertise available across the region, to its fullest.
“This additional funding will ensure we can now make a significant impact on rapidly reducing our waiting lists and continue providing high-quality care.
"It will also help us to make sure that nobody is left behind as we continue to reduce health inequalities across the region - one of key priorities going forward.”
Medical director for the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS, Professor Des Breen, said: “We know that many people in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw have been adversely impacted by the pandemic and so we’re delighted to be one of the first ‘accelerator’ areas because it means we can rapidly take forward our plans to recover health care services for our population.
“Treating many thousands of Covid-19 patients over the past year across our hospital sites has inevitably had a knock-on effect and the additional funding will enable us to see and treat more patients, more quickly.
"Before the pandemic, we had an excellent track record with the vast majority of patients waiting less than 18 weeks for non-urgent hospital procedures and we are keen to get back to delivering health care to those people who need us.”
As part of recovery plans for elective care announced in March, GPs, specialists and their teams are focusing on those waiting who are in the most urgent clinical need and on those who have been waiting longest.
A number of services are already back to the same levels as in 2019.