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Some NHS services recover from pandemic backlog

Some services in the NHS have returned to their pre-pandemic levels, including operations, elective care and cancer treatment. New data from the NHS England show that the number of people waiting more than 52 weeks to start treatment, decreased by more than 50,000 in April. Regarding diagnostic services, 1.8 million patients were able to access testing services in the month of April.

There was also an increase in the number of operations and elective care carried out, returning to pre-pandemic levels, with activity at 90%. This is well ahead of the 75% threshold set out in official guidance. Cancer services experienced a pick-up, with 200,000 patients being referred for cancer checks during April.

The number of diagnostic tests, which include CT scans and biopsies, showed an overall rise of 202% since April 2020.  1,847,500 diagnostic tests were performed in April of this year. Despite the rise in certain NHS services, the number of people waiting for hospital treatment is now the equivalent of one in 11 in England.

Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director for NHS England, said: “Despite the extensive disruption to care caused by the pandemic, it’s encouraging that today’s figures show routine operations, cancer and mental health care have now all rebounded sharply.”


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