UK coronavirus live: Coffey seeks to defuse free school meals row with Rashford saying both share ‘same aim’

We have to restore confidence in the public that they can have an elective operation safely with excellent results, as they enjoyed before the Covid crisis.

That means we’ll have to put some extra precautions in until we can establish that we’ve been doing elective surgery safely so, even if we can get going again, I think it’s slightly unrealistic to believe that we can get going at full speed very quickly.

I think that dealing with the backlog is not something that’s achievable simply in weeks – you know, we stopped for 12 weeks so we can catch up in 12 weeks – I mean, that to my mind, is completely unrealistic.

This is certainly many months, it may take us a few years to catch up, and as I say we have to be able to sustain that effort.

So we really do need a programme recovery of surgery and the sustainability of surgery that probably looks at four or five years in order to have a resilient system and take things forward in the best possible way.

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