On February 8th 2022, NHS England and NHS Improvement wrote to CCGs, Trusts and Foundation Trusts to lay out the plan.

The plan sets out how the NHS will recover and expand elective services over the next three years. It has been developed with contributions from a range of partners, both internal and external to the NHS. This includes patient groups.

A central aim of the plan is to maximise NHS capacity. The plan should support systems to deliver around 30 per cent more elective activity than before the pandemic. The plan should also ensure that the “service that is fit for the future”.

The four main “targets” are:

  1. Make improvements on long waits. The goal is to eliminate waits of over two years by July 2022, and waits of over one year by March 2025. There will be challenges in particular specialties, as before the pandemic.
  2. Reduce diagnostic waiting times, with the aim of least 95% of patients receiving tests within 6 weeks by March 2025.
  3. Deliver the cancer faster diagnosis standard, returning the 62 day backlog to pre-pandemic levels by March 2023. By March 2024, have at least 75% of urgent cancer referrals receiving a diagnosis within 28 days.
  4. Monitor and improve waiting times and patients’ experience of waiting for first outpatient appointments. This will be through work with patient groups and stakeholders over the next three years (March 2025).

The letter notes that this is just one issue across the service:

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is not limited to elective care, and it can be seen across mental health, primary and community care. It will be important to give these areas the same focus as elective care, and for the challenges in these areas to be tackled in unison.

The full letter and related documents are available online.

Published on 21 Feb

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One comment on "Elective recovery plan published"

  • Commenter said on 6th March 2022

    I find a target of March 2025 for 1 yr waiting very distressing and having to wait up to June 22 for a gastrology follow up that was cancelled 2 years ago is of real concern.

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