Impact of pandemic on poorer communities in England results in longer waits for care

27 September 2021

Responding to new analysis from the King's Fund that shows people living in the most deprived areas in England are nearly twice as likely to experience a wait of over one year for hospital care than those in the most affluent, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said:

"It is deeply worrying that according to this analysis patients in deprived areas are nearly twice as likely to wait a year or more for planned treatment.

"Trusts are working flat out to maintain and restore services, while keeping people safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19.

"It is vital that in addressing the care backlog, due emphasis is given to deal with disparities in access and outcomes for disadvantaged people living in the most deprived areas.

"Through their work in local systems trusts are taking on a growing role in addressing these inequalities, but they will need support to do this, recognising that it could impact on broader efforts to reduce the size of waiting lists.

"The findings on the toll that delays to treatment can take on people's health, including their mental health and wellbeing, are particularly worrying given the likelihood that this autumn and winter may be busier than ever for the health service.

"Given the scale of these challenges it will be important to manage expectations so people are realistic about the time it will take to deal with the backlog."