This content has been developed and paid for by Pfizer UK.

Three years on from covid-19

Over the last three years, the NHS has experienced some of the most acute pressures in its now 75-year history.1  Last winter, the strain was heightened by the “tripledemic” of covid-19, flu, and record demand on urgent and emergency services.2 Across the country, healthcare teams are still tackling the significant backlogs exacerbated by covid-19.3

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As the first priority for the NHS in 2023-24, healthcare leaders remain focussed on a continued effort to recover core services and productivity, while also delivering the ambitions of the NHS Long Term Plan and transforming the NHS for the future.4 At Pfizer, we see the ongoing covid-19 response as key to supporting the delivery of these priorities. While the unique stresses on the health service at the height of the pandemic have lessened, the response to covid-19 continues and there may be opportunities to strengthen this response further.

The need to adopt a preventive approach

Following the World Health Organization’s recent announcement that covid-19 no longer represents a “public health emergency”,5 the UK’s “covid stable” stage continues6 and the threat no longer feels front of mind. However, the next covid-19 peak is projected this summer7 and while efforts have been made to mitigate this,8 it’s important that we use all the tools at our disposal to reduce the impact of seasonal peaks. Minimising the impact is important for vulnerable patients and to curb disruption that may affect the successful delivery of the 2023-24 NHS priorities.

To achieve these goals, a flexible approach to managing covid-19 that responds to potential threats highlighted through disease surveillance is essential. This way, we can help to keep people out of hospital, free up capacity to tackle the core commitments of the NHS Long Term Plan and support the long-term sustainability of health and social care overall.

Collaboration and investment are key

As we enter the 75th year of the NHS this July, demand for healthcare services grows. To improve the prevention of avoidable illness,9  collaboration between all stakeholders, including industry, government, and healthcare leaders is essential. Together we can help people live longer and healthier lives.




1 BMA. An NHS under pressure. Available here. [Last accessed: June 2023]

2 NHS England. Hundreds of beds taken up by flu patients every day ahead of winter. Available here. Last accessed June 2023.

3 Department of Health and Social Care Media Centre. How we’re tackling the NHS backlog. Available here. [Last accessed: June 2023]

4 NHS. 2023/24 priorities and operational planning guidance. Available here. [Last accessed: June 2023]

World Health Organization. Statement on the fifteenth meeting of the IHR (2005) Emergency Committee on the COVID-19 pandemic. Available here. [Last accessed June 2023]

6 Department of Health and Social Care. COVID-19 alert level reduced to 2. Available here. [Last accessed: June 2023]

7 UCL. Long-term forecasting of COVID-19. Available here. [Last accessed: June 2023]

8 UK Health Security Agency. A guide to the COVID-19 spring booster 2023. Available here. [Last accessed: June 2023]

9 NHS. Chapter 2: More NHS action on prevention and health inequalities. Available here. [Last accessed: June 2023]