This story originally appeared on Health Tech World
It’s true that through 2020 and into 2021, the NHS has evolved. The NHS dealt with the first Covid19 wave by switching all of its focus to deal with the virus and nothing else – rightly so. Post the first wave, the NHS quickly re-established some (but not all) services and activity. In the second wave, the NHS managed Covid19 while maintaining key services and increasing activity, but the ‘Kent’ variant of Covid19 in late November followed closely by Delta and now Lambda is having a profound impact on services. The next few months look challenging.
The next few months
According to the latest performance figures from the NHS, the list of people who have waited greater than 52 weeks for treatment has ballooned from 1,600 people at the start of the pandemic to 300,000. These same NHSE figures show that the overall waiting list has grown to 4.49 million people.
More worryingly and highlighted by the ‘waiting list expert’ Rob Findlay during 2020 there had been a significant reduction in the number of total referrals by up to 30%. In April 2020 that was the equivalent to 50,000 less referrals for treatment in a single month. Estimates say this unreferred demand could be as high as 5,000,000 people and that demand could appear on the waiting lists into next year.