NHS Providers responds to NAO warning on backlog recovery

17 November 2022

In response to a National Audit Office (NAO) warning that a plan to cut queues for non-emergency and cancer care is at "serious risk", the interim chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said:

"The NAO's warning follows our own findings that fewer than half of NHS trusts expect to meet key end-of-year elective recovery and cancer targets.

"The NAO rightly highlights 'significant workforce and productivity issues' facing the NHS and that government funding to help clear backlogs hasn't kept pace with double-digit inflation.

"NHS trust leaders and their staff continue to pull out all the stops to bear down on backlogs in the face of demand for services even higher than before COVID-19. They have slashed the longest waits for treatment and are exceeding pre-pandemic activity in many areas. Mental health services are in contact with record numbers of people and community services are doing their utmost to reduce a waiting list estimated at more than 1 million.

"But making further headway is hard due to long-standing, fundamental pressures which persist right across the NHS, especially chronic staff shortages and severely stretched budgets.

"With more than 130,000 vacancies across NHS trusts the government must produce urgently a fully costed and funded workforce plan so that the NHS can recruit and retain the people it so desperately needs to give patients first-class care.

"We agree with the NAO that NHS England should review the recovery plan and targets, and assess progress, early next year."

We use cookies to ensure you have the best possible experience on our website. By continuing we’ll assume that you are happy to receive them. Read our updated privacy and cookie policy. Close