New IHPN report shines a light on role of independent community health sector in covid19 response

As UK society continues to open up with covid restrictions easing, IHPN have today launched a new report shining a light on the vital role independent providers of primary, community and diagnostic services have played in supporting the NHS during the most recent waves of the pandemic.

Following up on IHPN’s “Working together during covid19”, published last summer which looked at the key role independent providers of primary, community and diagnostics services played in supporting the NHS during the first wave of covid, this new report highlights how these partnerships have continued during the second and third waves of the pandemic to ensure patients have been able access the care they needed.

Today’s new report, “Working together during the second and third waves of covid19”, demonstrates the breadth of support that the sector has provided to the NHS and patients all across the country through what was arguably the most challenging Winter period in the health service’s history. This partnership working has ranged from providing virtual support for vulnerable parents, young people and families across the country; deploying mobile clinical research facility to help support the development of the covid vaccine; rolling out the NHS’ Covid Oximetry @ Home service to support the treatment of patients with covid symptoms in their own homes; and the delivery of hundreds of thousands of  remote physio appointments.

Independent primary, community and diagnostics providers have also made a significant contribution in helping the NHS clear the elective care backlog across a range of specialities including ophthalmology, gynaecology as well as key diagnostic scans tests – providing care closer to people’s homes and communities and reducing pressure on the acute sector.

Today’s report from IHPN also highlights the dedication of the tens of thousands of independent sector staff during the second and third waves of the pandemic. This includes through their through their contribution to the vaccine rollout, where significant numbers of independent sector staff volunteered to help with the NHS’s biggest ever vaccine drive and delivering thousands of jabs for housebound patients, the homeless and other vulnerable groups.

David Hare, Chief Executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, said:

“I’m delighted to be launching our new report, “Working together…during the second and third waves of the pandemic” which showcases just some of the many inspiring partnerships between independent primary, community and diagnostic providers and the NHS during what has undoubtedly been the toughest winter in the health service’s history.

“Staff working in the independent community health sector really have gone above and beyond to deliver the best possible care for NHS patients – breaking down traditional organisational boundaries and collaborating in new and innovative ways with the NHS. This incredible work includes delivering support to covid patients in the community, providing much needed remote appointments and consultations and helping to clear the growing backlog of routine NHS procedures in the community.

“While covid cases have now thankfully reduced with pressures easing on the health service independent providers across the primary, community and diagnostics sector remain committed to supporting the NHS and building on this partnership working – locking in some of the key innovations that have come about during the pandemic and ensuring patients can access the care they need as the recovery of the health service continues.”