Analysis of monthly data releases by NHS England to highlight the huge pressures being placed on an over-burdened healthcare system including elective surgeries.
Activity data for August and September 2021 keenly illustrated the continued disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on NHS care. The latest available data indicates that the shutdown of most non-COVID-19 services in the first wave, combined with drastic changes in patient behaviour, mean the NHS is facing a large backlog of non-COVID-19 care, storing up greater problems for the future. The BMA estimates that, between April 2020 and August 2021, there were 3.90 million fewer elective procedures. Many elective procedures were cancelled as the second, worse wave of COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations set in, causing further growth in the backlog.
Despite the progress against these targets, the total waiting list currently sits at an alarming, record high 5.72 million and continues to grow. There is irrefutable evidence that cancer treatment was severely affected during the first peak of COVID-19 hospitalisations.