Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:42 pm on 1st September 2020.

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Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Secretary of State for Health and Social Care 3:42 pm, 1st September 2020

Yes; the hon. Gentleman is right to raise exactly this point. Now is the time to get through as much of the backlog as possible. At the same time, we have introduced changes to the way that the NHS operates so that it is more risk-based, so that infection control procedures, which are important, can also be more risk-based, to try to increase the amount of surgery that can happen, essentially splitting the NHS into areas that are deemed “covid green”, which are secure from covid, and “covid blue”, which means the areas where there may be covid, to allow the throughput of surgery to increase. Of course, cancer services have continued all the way through, but obviously they were diminished during the peak. With winter coming, we want to put the extra funds into the NHS to try to ensure that those services can continue all the way through, as much as is possible. The flu vaccination programme is also an important part of protecting the NHS from higher demand this winter.