NHS teams across Coventry and Warwickshire will trail new ways of working to help develop a blueprint for restoring routine NHS care after the pandemic, as part of a new plan unveiled today.

Thanks to the agile way in which the NHS responded to the Covid-19 pandemic, 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-positive patients.

With the success of the world-leading vaccine programme meaning that hospitals are now dealing with far fewer Covid cases, 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.

To help find ways to allow the NHS in England to continue progress already made, Coventry and Warwickshire Integrated Care System has been chosen to receive a share of £160m in funding and extra support to implement and evaluate innovative ways to increase the number of elective operations they deliver.

Over the next three months, patients will benefit from the programme:


  • Transforming how we communicate with people to fit in with their needs, exploring new technology which will give patients the choice of telephone, digital or face to face contacts throughout their journey.[1] 
  • Speeding up supported discharge from hospital for patients to a place of their choice with the support that they need.[2] 
  • Improving access by offering weekend and evening appointments and procedures for patients. [3]

Learning on what worked well in Coventry and Warwickshire and the other ‘elective accelerator’ sites will then help form a blueprint for elective recovery which can be used across the country.

Professor Kiran Patel, consultant cardiologist and Medical Director at University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire said:
“Treating so many Covid patients over the past year along with additional safety measures has inevitably had a knock-on effect on non-urgent care, but with the virus in retreat thanks to the extraordinary success of the NHS vaccination programme, our mission now is to rapidly recover routine services.

“Today’s announcement is good news for patients across Coventry and Warwickshire, but also for everyone in England who is on the waiting list or thinking about coming forward for care, because by demonstrating what works well here we can help colleagues in every part of the NHS deliver care in a better way.

“If you have been putting off seeking care for whatever reason, please do come forward now by contacting your GP – the NHS has been open throughout the pandemic and we have extra measures in place to see you safely.” 

As part of recovery plans for elective care announced in March, GPs, specialists and their teams are focusing on those on the waiting in most urgent clinical need and who have been waiting longest, with an aim by the end of July for all areas to provide over 85% of the levels of activity seen in 2019.

While initial indications suggest the NHS nationally was ahead of its plan by the end of April, the elective accelerator systems programme is an additional initiative with the aim of finding ways to continue this momentum over the summer and beyond. 


Notes for editors

[1] Through expanding the range of ways we deliver appointments, consultations and follow ups in ways that suit our patients, we will be able to see many more people than before and reduce the time that they have to wait. 
[2] We know patients recover better in a non-medical setting so we want to help them to leave hospital as soon as it is clinically safe to do so. Through the accelerator programme we will find new ways of getting people to the right place quickly and safely and with all of the support and care which they need and maintain the “flow” through out hospitals, freeing up space for more people to access care.
[3] Not all of our patients are able to attend appointments during the day. They might have responsibility for children or dependants who they can’t find care for during office hours, struggle to get time off from their job, or need to wait until their friend or relative gets home from work in order to take them to an appointment. By expanding the times in which we offer appointments and deliver procedures, we will be able to see more people more quickly but also support earlier intervention, preventing people from waiting until their condition worsens and becomes an emergency.