This is the first episode in a series of podcasts by Natasha Loder, Health Policy Editor at The Economist, about the care backlog currently facing the health service. After more than two years battling Covid-19, the NHS is struggling through its worst winter crisis in living memory and is facing a daunting task to clear the huge backlog exacerbated by the pandemic. Nearly six million people are on the NHS waiting list for routine treatment in England alone. As patients, often with worsening conditions, pour back into the NHS after putting off treatment, health secretary Sajid Javid warns waiting lists could top thirteen million.
In this first episode, Natasha speaks to frontline workers, managers, policy experts, and patients to assess the pressure created by the unprecedented demand on the different areas of the NHS from emergency services to GP surgeries.