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Health Committee opens up inquiry into healthcare backlog

A call for evidence has been launched by the Health and Care Select Committee regarding a planned inquiry into how the backlog of healthcare triggered by the pandemic can be cleared. The Committee will be investigating how to quantify the level of pent-up demand for key healthcare services; and to consider whether “fundamental changes to the organisation and delivery of NHS services will be required to manage the backlog of cases caused by the pandemic”.

Levels of funding, capacity, organisation and leadership available to tackle the NHS challenge will be examined by MPs during the inquiry. Additionally, MPs will look at concerns regarding the potential of the backlog issues to persist into the future and become permanent hurdles for the healthcare system in the United Kingdom. In terms of areas of focus, there will be examination of elective surgery, emergency care, GP care (General Practice), mental health, and long-COVID.

Areas which the Committee welcomes written evidence on include:

  • The anticipated size of backlog-caused demand for services across different healthcare areas.
  • The NHS capacity to tackle the backlog, how much financial investment will be needed to do this. How should future investment be allocated, and what has been the positive/negative effect of financial support up until now. 
  • The efficacy of the 111 A&E number service during the pandemic.
  • What can the Department of Health & Social Care, national bodies and local systems do to facilitate innovation as services evolve to meet emerging challenges.

The Health and Care Committee is chaired by the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, former Secretary for Health and Care. Its role is to scrutinise the spending, policy approach and administration of the Department of Health and Social Care and its associated public bodies.

Friday 3rd September 2021 is the deadline for input to the inquiry’s call for evidence. These inputs can made through the official Government page, which can be found here.


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