NHS misses targets in England to tackle care backlogs

Topics covered: NHS, NHS Backlog, NHS England

On 11 May 2023 NHS England announced that it has failed to meet key targets to tackle the backlogs in cancer care and routine treatment. The number of people waiting more than 18 months for treatment has fallen by over 90%, but there are still a record 7.3 million people on an NHS hospital waiting list. The NHS has been hampered by staff shortages and strikes, which have caused the postponement of more than 500,000 appointments and operations.

Why did the NHS England fail to meet targets?

The NHS is facing a number of challenges, including staff shortages, rising demand for services, and an ageing population. These challenges are being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to a backlog of patients who need treatment. The Government has pledged to invest £33.9 billion in the NHS over the next three years, but it remains to be seen whether this will be enough to address the challenges facing the NHS health service.

What has been said? 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the government was “delivering” on its promise to cut NHS waiting lists, but Labour’s shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said the government had “broken its promise”. NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard said:

“Great strides were being made in the face of incredible pressure but there is still much work to be done, but these are remarkable achievements given all the NHS has had to contend with.”

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