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NHS backlogs and waiting times

The NHS in England was running at close to maximum capacity before the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has led to a sharp drop in routine NHS activity, resulting in more people waiting for treatment, and waiting for longer. 

This report will provide a factual overview of NHS backlogs and waiting times following the COVID-19 pandemic. It will explain:

  • the points at which patients wait for NHS treatment;
  • how trends in waiting times changed before the emergence of COVID-19, and
  • the effect that COVID-19 has had on waiting times.

The NAO intends to follow this report with one examining how NHS services are recovering.