Recently, NHS England and NHS Improvement published planning guidance for the year ahead, outlining six priorities for the NHS as it emerges from the pandemic. The guidance strikes a balance between prioritising covid response and recovery efforts and advancing the broader service transformation objectives of the NHS Long Term Plan.
With NHS surgical waiting lists now standing at a record 4.6 million, it is not surprising that accelerating the restoration of elective care is one of the priorities.
The elective backlog challenge is not a new one for the NHS, but addressing it has acquired a new urgency and scope. Clearing the backlog sustainably and equitably will require the NHS, as the guidance states, “to do things differently.” In this BMJ article, Jugdeep Dhesi and Lisa Plotkin what they think "doing things differently" must include.