Healthcare Leaders Frustrated by Further Delay to NHS Recovery Plan

Responding to reports that the NHS elective care backlog recovery plan has been delayed Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:

“Healthcare leaders are keen to implement this delayed plan as soon as possible and it is frustrating that publication has once again been postponed.

“However, we also need to see some realism in the targets that are set for the NHS. Six million people are now waiting for treatment and there any many more millions of people we don’t yet know about. These are people who didn’t come forward for treatment during the pandemic and have yet to do so and this is combined with high demand and levels of unmet need across the NHS in mental health, community services and primary care.

“Despite doing all it can to recover services as efficiently as possible it’s important to remember that the NHS is still under real pressure carrying nearly 100,000 staff vacancies and facing real constraints on the size and shape of its building stock.

“While the NHS must absolutely be accountable for how the taxpayer money it receives is then spent, setting unrealistic targets risks skewing clinical priorities.

“We must be careful that in setting targets we don’t deprioritise those that need treatment most urgently to instead treat those that have been waiting the longest – something which is not always one and the same thing.”