NHS faces huge challenge as pressures feel like ‘January in July’

Matthew Taylor comments on the latest monthly NHS performance figures.

8 July 2021

Commenting on the latest monthly NHS performance figures for England, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “The NHS has been working relentlessly to bring back services and get patients through its doors, with the average wait for elective care at 10.8 weeks in May, down by 29 per cent on May 2020. These figures show that while waiting lists are still rising, more people are coming forward for care, which is encouraging, as this is exactly what the NHS is there for.

“The NHS clearly faces a huge challenge, with a treatment backlog of 5.3 million patients, but thanks to the efforts of health service staff, the number of people waiting longer than a year for non-urgent treatment has fallen significantly.

“However, record A&E attendances highlight the scale of demand. Across the NHS, our members are telling us that it feels like January in July, with our urgent care system running a winter-like service in the middle of summer.

“The health secretary himself has warned that cases of COVID and hospital admissions will go up even further after the final restrictions are lifted, so while the NHS will do everything it can for patients, we must go into this next phase with our eyes wide open, and acknowledge much of the care the NHS can provide to patients is likely to be disrupted further, including in the community.”