Recently, the news has been filled with stories about the pressure the NHS is facing, particularly as it catches up with backlogs caused by the pandemic, and the Government is in no doubt as to the severity of the problem, having made £8 billion of additional NHS and adult social care funding available in the Autumn Statement.
However, what we don’t hear enough about is the successes of our valued doctors and nurses, including those here in Gloucestershire. I therefore thought I would use this opportunity to highlight the fantastic work our local NHS has been doing.
The Gloucestershire Integrated Care System (ICS) – which includes our local health, social care and other partners – achieved a higher level of uptake of the Covid booster than any other ICS in England. In a testament to the dedication of our doctors and nurses, by the end of 2022 73.6% of eligible people in Gloucestershire had received their booster dose.
If you are eligible, I would encourage you to come forward for your Covid booster – despite their record progress already, I know our local health professionals are still hard at work to get that number above 80% as soon as possible.
Our local NHS is also performing particularly well when it comes to the post-pandemic recovery in the delivery of elective care. We continue to have no patients waiting more than 104 weeks for treatment and only a small number waiting more than 78 weeks. This means that our ICS is ranked top in the South West in terms of the fewest long elective waits as a proportion of the waiting list – great news for patients in the Forest of Dean and the wider county.
There is still more work to be done though in our mission to get waiting lists down and I’m glad to see that the Government is equipping our local area with the resources to do this. Gloucestershire has been awarded £6.7 million (£2.1 million to the County Council and £4.6 million to the ICS) from the national £500 million discharge fund. The priority for this money will be creating more capacity in domiciliary care, thereby increasing discharges and, in turn, available beds in our hospitals.
This article was first published in The Forester newspaper.