Today's restrictions on movements are perhaps an unprecedented opportunity to collect behavioural evidence and to help to rethink how things are done - how can we do things in a smarter and leaner way, achieving better outcomes at lower cost?
The huge decrease in Emergency Department (ED) presentations is a case in point. The NHS has long struggled with unnecessary ED attendances which cost money and can divert attention from real emergencies. Some of the pressure on EDs has been due to people trying to by-pass primary care.
When we look back it will be interesting to see how much of the 29% drop was made up of 'unnecessary' attendances and how those people coped - did they use other community-based services or even online consultations? I have engaged with my GP by telephone and if they set aside time for online consultations this would be far preferable for me than trekking down to the surgery for a chat with the doctor.
However people have coped, the lessons that can be learned could help estates to be used in a more efficient way in the future and may even be the ultimate nudge to getting people to accept new ways of consultation, such as video calls via their smartphones.
A&E attendances at lowest point since records began amid coronavirus outbreak A total of 1.53 million attendances were recorded in March 2020, a 29% drop on the 2.17 million attendances in March 2019