Covid-19 sent shock waves through Britain’s national health service, exposing fragilities, underlining insecurities, and pushing many hospitals to the brink. The pandemic has both exacerbated existing issues and added fresh challenges.
Even before coronavirus swept through the UK, the NHS was struggling. Overwhelmed hospital capacities, protracted A&E waits and staff shortages signalled a looming crisis. The NHS was rapidly mobilised in response. Non-urgent care was scaled back, elective surgeries were cancelled. Infection control measures added to mounting capacity challenges: fewer beds spaced further apart.