Responding to the latest ONS COVID-19 mortality figures, Dr Layla McCay, a director at the NHS Confederation, said:
“While the number of people known to be dying with coronavirus continues to decline, this positive development comes at the same time as we have been given a horrifying warning from the Academy of Medical Sciences that without continued Government action and public vigilance, we could be faced with a second wave of COVID-19 infection this winter that could cause 120,000 deaths.
“NHS leaders are already bracing themselves for a very challenging winter, but a second wave of this magnitude would overwhelm their services.
“We note this isn’t a prediction of what will definitely happen, but it is another stark reminder that the pandemic is not over: it will be with us for a very long time. Public expectations must be managed about what the NHS will be able to deliver, and precautions must be taken to protect each other and the NHS. An effective test and trace system will be more important than ever to identify and isolate people at risk, and so is absolute clarity and consistency from the Government on its public messaging as lockdown measures continue to be relaxed.”
Read our report, Getting the NHS back on track: planning for the next phase of COVID-19, which sets out some of the ways in which local NHS organisations will need support to get the NHS back on its feet.