Health and hospital services in Devon were already run-down and over capacity when the COVID-19 crisis struck.
Devon has had a relatively low rate of infections. Despite this, more people have undoubtedly contracted COVID than would have been the case if the Government had acted more promptly and according to the advice of public health experts.
Local health, care and community workers responded heroically to the crisis. But they were hampered by centralised decision-making, especially over testing, tracing, and PPE procurement, that undermined local planning and side-lined the expertise of local bodies.
Outsourcing of key functions to private sector contractors has led to inefficiencies, duplication, confusion, poor communication, and worse outcomes than if existing NHS and local authority capacity had been extended.
We offer urgent recommendations to ensure that Devon healthcare and hospital services are fit for purpose in the case of a second wave of COVID-19 infections, or a similar public health crisis in the future.
Full report can be found here.