NHS team

Some NHS services return to pre-pandemic levels

According to data from NHS England, the number of people waiting more than 52 weeks to start treatment, decreased by more than 50,000 in 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.

Despite caring for 400,000 seriously ill patients with Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, and the challenges experienced - 1.1 million began receiving treatment, and 1.8 million patients were able to have diagnostic testing in April.

The data also showed cancer services were starting to improve again, with more than 200,000 people referred for cancer checks during April. Cancer treatment rates are also back at the usual levels, with 24,963 people starting treatment. This shows an increase of more than 4,000 compared to the same time last year (20,574).

The NHS also published a faster diagnosis standard for cancer for the first time, allowing patients to receive a definitive diagnosis or news of being cancer free within one month. These steps were taken as a result of the Cancer Taskforce’s recommendation, and is part of the NHS’s Long Term Plan aimed at finding cancer at an earlier stage.

The number of diagnostic tests, which include CT scans and biopsies, increased to 1,847,500 in April this year, an increase of 202% since April 2020.

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.

“Average waits for non-urgent care have fallen to 11 weeks, and the number of people waiting over 52 weeks fell by more than 50,000 in April. Mental health services are back at pre-pandemic levels, and treatment rates for cancer are also now back to usual levels, with nearly nineteen out of twenty people starting treatment for the disease within one month.”

In line with the NHS’s target to restore services to pre-pandemic levels, they invested £1bn in elective recovery, and announced their Elective Accelerator programme last month. The programme will benefit 12 trusts and five specialist children’s hospitals, with each receiving a share of £160m to increase the number of elective operations delivered.

Other services which made important steps to restore services to pre-pandemic levels was the mental health sector. The incentive was down to the increase in patients being referred for talking therapies for depression and anxiety. The access to Psychological Therapies referrals, significantly increased from 133,365 in February 2021 to 159,140 in March, and from 108,330 last year.

NHE Sept/Oct 21

NHE Sept/Oct 21

Improving care for long-term conditions

Join us in our September/October edition of National Health Executive, as we explore a range of topics impacting and improving the care that we can deliver to patients, the facilities within which we deliver them, and the opportunities in the digital space to accent and evolve our care capabilities


View all videos
National Health Executive Presents

National Health Executive Presents

NHE365 Virtual Festival: Digital Healthcare

The integration of new technology, such as using virtual outpatient appointments instead of face-to-face reviews of patients in the hospital. Adapting the ways in which our NHS workers serve people has been critical in continuing to provide high-quality treatment, a positive patient experience and preventing Covid-19 transmission during the pandemic. Our healthcare sector has the potential to transform the way we continue to provide essential services while also improving patient care. But how easy is the integration of these innovations into routine NHS practice?

On the 28th of October, at the NHE365 Virtual Hospitals & Technology Enabled Care online event, we will be discussing patient flow and experience, reducing waiting times, reducing the patient backlog and increasing technology adoption. Will you be attending? 

Finger on the Pulse

Ep 14. Health messaging is a science, Professor Craig Jackson

On Episode 14 of NHE's Finger on the Pulse podcast, we're joined by Professor Craig Jackson, Professor of Occupational Health Psychology
Birmingham City University to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, the health messaging around it and how those in power have missed a trick by overlooking the key role of psychology in informing the public of restrictions, measures and the ever-changing situation

More articles...

View all