The King's Fund submission to the Health and Social Care Select Committee inquiry into clearing the backlog caused by the pandemic

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This is a timely and important inquiry. Elective waiting lists were growing and performance targets being routinely missed prior to the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, the situation has significantly deteriorated, and will continue to worsen, as more people wait for treatment and people wait longer than they did before the pandemic. 

At best, longer waits will mean inconvenience and discomfort for patients, but for some, it will mean deteriorating health and more severe illness. There is also a significant inequalities dimension to this, and current NHS operational planning guidance sets an expectation that systems restore services in a way that is inclusive and helps address health inequalities. Tackling this backlog will be a huge operational challenge, at a time when continuing measures to prevent Covid-19 infections in hospital will limit productivity and staff, exhausted by Covid-19, will need time to recover before confronting this new challenge.

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