We know that the pandemic has unavoidably disrupted a significant amount of routine NHS care and across the NHS we are working hard to restore this, reduce waiting lists and speed up access to planned care treatments. 

Thanks to £10 million additional government funding we’re getting through the national ‘accelerator’ programme (which is investing in new and innovative schemes to reduce waiting times across different parts of the country), we are continuing to increase the number of planned procedures and operations we perform and reduce waiting lists.

Between April and July this year, on average we have carried out 10% more planned treatments than we did before the pandemic, and we expect this to rise as more schemes go live. 

We are currently investing in a variety of schemes across our health system in three ways:

  • Managing demand – helping patients to monitor their own conditions in their homes and redirecting patients away from surgical interventions to more appropriate treatments – such as our Blood Pressure @ Home monitoring service (which featured on the BBC news recently!)
  • Improving processes – for example, using robotic process automation to help validate waiting lists, freeing up time for our administrative staff
  • Creating space – investing in more equipment to enable our operating theatres to work more efficiently.

As a system, we use two main ways to monitor performance as part of this accelerator programme:

  • Comparing the levels of patient activity to that provided before the pandemic – which as highlighted above is increasing

Looking at the volumes of patients waiting a long time for their planned procedures.  For example, we now have one of the lowest numbers of patients waiting over a year for surgery (whilst recognising that anyone waiting over this amount of time is one patient too many).  Our levels for these long waits in orthopaedics (one of the specialties hit hardest by the pandemic) dropped from a high of 24.1% to just 4.7% in May.