On 8 February 2022, NHS England and NHS Improvement published the Delivery Plan for Tackling the COVID-19 Backlog of Elective Care.
The plan sets out how the NHS will tackle the COVID backlog in the months and years to come by increasing health service capacity, prioritising diagnosis and treatment, transforming how elective care is provided, and providing better information and support to patients
Frontline NHS teams have provided expert care to more than 600,000 patients with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, however, despite these efforts, dealing with the pandemic has impacted the amount of planned care the NHS has been able to provide, resulting in longer waits for many patients.
Nationally 6 million people are now on the waiting list, up from 4.4 million before the pandemic, and estimates also suggest over 10 million patients did not come forward for treatment when they may have needed it during the pandemic.
The Delivery Plan sets out how the NHS will tackle the elective backlog in the months and years to come.
Testing is key, and the NHS will deliver nine million more tests and checks per year by 2025, which is an increase in capacity of a quarter compared with the three years prior to the pandemic - 95 percent of patients will receive a test within six weeks of referral.
By March 2024, 75 percent of patients will either have a diagnosis or have their cancer ruled out within 28 days of being urgently referred by their GP. By March 2025 no patient will wait more than a year for elective surgery by March 2025.
My Planned Care
A new My Planned Care website is due to go live in February. This will provide greater transparency to patients on waiting times. Using the website you will be able to check the waiting list size and average waiting times by specialty and get advice about managing your health whilst you wait.
In Greater Manchester, in January, hospitals across the region started to resume non-urgent surgery and appointments after a brief pause earlier in the month. This was due to the impact of COVID-19 and associated staff sickness levels across the region.
Services remain busy and we are working to reschedule patients as soon as we can based on clinical need. Please bear with us and wait to hear directly from the hospital as we work through the waiting lists.
Anyone waiting for treatment can find advice and support on the Greater Manchester While You Wait website (whileyouwait.org.uk). Here you will find information and advice on how to manage your physical and mental wellbeing while you wait.
Any patients with health concerns are advised to continue to come forward for help and treatment in the usual way, using their local Emergency Department only for serious illnesses or injuries. NHS 111 can help if you have an urgent medical problem and aren’t sure what to do by calling 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk.