The recovery challenges for NHS hospital services

Published: 22 September 2021 Page last updated: 12 May 2022

This month’s Insight report looks at how NHS trusts are planning for people’s care while tackling a backlog of treatment caused by COVID-19.

In May and June 2021, we asked 73 trusts about their approaches to longer waiting lists and how they are considering people’s care in a fair and equal way. We wanted to know about their assessments of the challenges.

During the pandemic, hospital capacity has been under pressure, resulting in the suspension of some elective care. Other challenges that hospitals have had to factor in include wider infection and control measures, increased cleaning procedures and the use of personal protective equipment, and enhanced testing.

Despite these pressures, the trusts told us about new and innovative examples of people receiving care. This included developing 'waiting well' packages of support, emphasising the importance of keeping people up-to-date while waiting for elective operations. Another example involved establishing a ‘virtual ward’ in a patient’s home following their surgery, with regular visits from specialist nurses and therapists, plus virtual consultations with doctors.

This report also updates on data on deaths in care homes, people detained under the Mental Health Act and ONS data on all weekly deaths in England compared with the average for 2015-2019.

Read COVID-19 Insight: Issue 13


You can read the full report, including sections on the recovery of NHS hospital services and updates of our usual data related to the pandemic.

Read COVID-19 Insight: Issue 13

Download the report

You can download a version of this report if you want to print or share it with your team.

COVID-19 Insight: Issue 13