Figures highlight difficult juggling act facing the NHS as COVID cases remain high Health Foundation response to NHS England’s monthly performance statistics

12 August 2021

Responding to the publication today of NHS England’s monthly performance statistics, Tim Gardner, Senior Policy Fellow at the Health Foundation, said:   

'Today’s data highlights the difficult juggling act the NHS faces in meeting emergency pressures, restoring services and addressing the backlog of care while COVID-19 cases still remain high. 

‘Routine hospital services were effectively back to pre-pandemic levels of activity in June, a remarkable achievement by NHS staff. With the waiting list reaching a new record high of 5.45 million, this progress will need to be sustained if the health service is to tackle the backlog of patients waiting for elective care.   

‘However, hospital capacity is clearly under severe strain, with July seeing A&E departments continue to be busier than before the pandemic and more NHS staff absent due to COVID. While far fewer patients are being admitted with COVID than in previous waves, thanks to the success of the vaccination programme, even a small number of admissions has a disproportionate impact due to the ongoing need to maintain infection prevention and control. 

‘The government and NHS leaders now need to be clear and realistic with the public about how they intend to get the NHS back to full strength, including dealing with the backlog of care. There will need to be significant investment at the upcoming Spending Review if we are to see improvement on waiting lists and addressing the staff shortages which are holding back progress.’ 

Media contact

Simon Perry
020 7257 2093

Further reading

Newsletter blog

A wealth of work supporting recovery and resilience

29 June 2021
Newsletter blog

Dr Jennifer Dixon takes a broad look at what will be needed to improve health, support NHS recovery...

You might also like...


Webinar: Levelling up health – a national strategy driven by local government


A panel discussion exploring the role of local government in levelling up health and how national...


Party conference schedule


The Health Foundation will be holding multiple fringe events and partnering with other organisations...

Press release

Universal Credit cut will hit areas with the worst health hardest

Press release

Health Foundation response to the end of the £20 universal credit uplift.

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101 copy

Get social

How has the pandemic affected progress of the #NHSLongTermPlan? Read our report to find out what was achieved befo…

Follow us on Twitter
Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more