Readying the NHS and social care for the COVID-19 peak

22nd June 2020

UK Parliament Public Accounts Committee (PAC) – Inquiry

On Monday 22 June, in the next of a new series of work on NAO reports into the Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Permanent Secretary and Finance Director at the Department for Health and Social Care was questioned alongside the Chief Executive of the NHS; NHS England; Public Health England and the National Medical Director on the UK’s preparations for the peak of cases and deaths in England.

The NAO’s report, the basis for questioning, provided a factual update on progress with key government actions across health and social care, including:

  • increasing the availability of healthcare professionals and beds to treat COVID-19 patients while maintaining other essential health services;
  • securing adequate vital supplies, including PPE, testing equipment, and ventilators; and
  • protecting and supporting vulnerable groups, including those residents in care homes and healthcare professionals.

Questions focused on the methods used to select providers and award contracts for PPE provision,  the use of consultants and other private contractors in mounting the UK emergency response including building and supplying the Nightingale hospitals, the development of the UK’s testing capacity and contact tracing system, and what capacity the NHS has now to withstand a potential second peak later this year.

You can read the evidence we submitted here.

You can read the PAC’s full report here.