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Pent up demand for care risks further inflating NHS backlog

New analysis published by the Health Foundation shows that while the waiting list for hospital care continues to grow, so too does the number of ‘missing' patients who have not yet been added to the list. There were 7.5 million fewer people referred for routine hospital care between January 2020 and July 2021 than would have been expected based on numbers prior to the pandemic. These ‘missing patients’ are in addition to the record 5.6 million people already on the waiting list.  

This lower than expected number of people referred for hospital care, including for routine procedures such as hip or knee surgery, is likely to be due to a number of reasons. Some people may not have sought treatment for health concerns during the pandemic, while others may have seen their GP but not yet been referred due to the pressure on hospital services during the pandemic. In some instances, care may no longer be needed. 

The analysis comes alongside a BBC Panorama documentary (Monday 27 September) revealing the scale of the elective care backlog and the impact delays are having on people’s lives. The Health Foundation analysis, shared with Panorama, also shows that the pandemic had a much worse effect on the hospital care provided in some areas of England than it did in others. The analysis of 42 local integrated care systems (ICSs) shows that the pandemic significantly reduced the level of routine hospital care performed across the country – in the worst affected area routine hospital care dropped by 37% while in the least affected area there was a 13% reduction.  

Read the full article here
Source: The Health Foundation


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