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Helping NHS ENT Services overcome the effect of COVID-19


One year on, and the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to disrupt NHS services. In addition to the daily challenges faced by front-line staff, the latest figures also show that 2.7 million fewer elective procedures were carried out between April and December 2020 than in the same period in 2019. Medinet can help.

Despite the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic, NHS England successfully carried out over 6 million elective treatments in 2020, which is testament to the dedication and professionalism of NHS staff, and use of support partners such as Medinet.

However, as COVID-related admissions continue to fall thanks to the widespread adoption of confinement measures and the vaccination roll-out, attention is again focused on NHS waiting lists, which industry experts have predicted could hit 10m by April. This statistic could have wide-reaching effects for the NHS, as elective services try to meet the demand.

Getting routine and elective procedures back on track is a priority for the NHS. Aside from the increased demands of acute COVID care, a raft of other factors continue to contribute to backlogs. These include delivery of out-patient clinics in the most suitable setting and extensive infection control measures which have been implemented as a direct result of the pandemic (including pre-operative screening for COVID-19, enhanced cleaning between patients and additional PPE requirements), all of which significantly impact on patient flow.

To add further pressure, the CQC has flagged NHS waiting lists and the potential long-term impact of reduced services on the health of the population.

In order to address this, reduce the elective care backlog and get NHS services back on track, NHS funding for the coming year is likely to focus on elective care needs; how to provide additional capacity, reduce the backlogs and get services back to – and beyond – pre-pandemic efficiency.

ENT Departments in need of support

ENT is among specialties which has been severely affected by COVID-19, with an estimated 357,000 patients currently waiting for non-urgent ENT procedures.

This is a result of not only the widespread cancellation of routine and elective surgeries, but also because COVID-19 predominantly affects the upper respiratory tract, therefore presenting a particularly high risk of aerosol and droplet contamination to both clinicians and patients during ENT procedures.

Whilst urgent ENT procedures have continued to take place throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, lower priority cases have been almost completely suspended, leading to significant waiting lists for patients awaiting non-urgent surgery or surgery for chronic conditions.

How can ENT waiting lists be reduced?

In order to make any meaningful reductions in current waiting lists, the NHS needs to either bring additional capacity into existing teams or look to outsourcing in order to meet demand.

Because NHS recruitment is a complex and time-consuming process, a more efficient approach is to employ additional high-quality teams – which can use existing NHS facilities, for example during evenings and weekends – to reduce backlogs in elective procedures. Of course, this needs to be done safely, with the right clinicians, and balancing cost and quality.

This approach presents an alternative to the more traditional outsourcing model whilst allowing the local NHS Acute to maintain full control over governance, processes and the patient pathway.

Female Dr talking to a female patient in a bright clean Dr s office


At Medinet, we continue to deliver our services with the same pre-pandemic consistency to help the NHS overcome some of the challenges presented by COVID-19. Our specialist teams can provide additional capacity to reduce ENT waiting lists, and ensure that patients receive the care they need, as soon as possible.

Our teams work in any facility, at any time, to help meet targets without compromising on quality and develop bespoke delivery plans recognising each hospital has its own way of working. Since the last few weeks of 2020, Medinet teams have treated over 29,000 patients.

What’s more, we don’t just provide a clinical service: our work is underpinned by a governance framework which reflects our commitment to quality.

With a robust business development programme, fully managed service model and COVID secure SOPs, our team operates under the highest standards of safety and quality assurance. This is supported by our class-leading 0.07% incident rate.

Medinet employs only known and vetted NHS Consultants who have held a substantive ENT post. We can provide immediate access to additional clinical ENT teams to work alongside – or supplementary to – your own staff. Our teams employ the principles of transparency, integration and co-operation to ensure that they support existing staff and systems in a seamless way.

The commissioning of high quality additional clinical teams will be essential if the NHS is to safely reduce ENT backlogs, reduce waiting lists and improve outcomes for patients.

At Medinet, we already have the expertise needed to deliver short- and long-term solutions. We can help you address initial backlogs, ensure key treatments go ahead, and sustain lower waiting times moving forward. Make an enquiry to see how we can bring expert care to those patiently waiting. So together, we can end the wait.

How can we help you?

Contact us for your tailormade solution