NHS England’s chief executive has admitted the service is behind on its commitment to increase elective activity to 130% of pre-covid levels by 2025, saying the recovery would need to be ‘reprofiled’ to catch up after this year.
Amanda Pritchard told MPs on the Public Accounts Committee that NHS England would need to “re-profile some of the [elective recovery] trajectories”, as progress this year was being hampered by a combination of higher than expected covid rates, flu, workforce challenges and industrial action.
She later added that the 2025 target could “theoretically” be missed, but stressed “we are a very long way from that” and indicated she believed the NHS could catch up in future years.
Elective recovery plans agreed between NHSE and government last autumn said activity would recover to 110% of pre-covid levels in 2022-23. Yet published data shows many systems have so far been carrying out fewer procedures than before covid in most months.
Asked by the committee’s chair Meg Hillier if she was confident the NHS would hit the 2025 activity target, first agreed for the 2021 spending settlement, Ms Pritchard replied: “I think at the moment we are absolutely aiming [to hit the target] at the end of that period of time, but we do recognise that we are going to need to re-profile trajectories to get there.”
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Source: HSJ, 28 November 2022