Intended for healthcare professionals


Recovery plan for elective care

BMJ 2022; 376 doi: (Published 17 February 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;376:o386
  1. Richard Murray, chief executive
  1. King’s Fund, London, UK
  1. R.Murray{at}

Undermined by a deafening silence on the core workforce required to deliver it

Covid-19 has been a seismic shock to the health of the population and to health and social care services. While this shock has been felt in every part of the English NHS, the first recovery plan released by the government and by NHS England covers only one (admittedly important) element: elective services and the thorny problem of waiting times for secondary care.1 This focus is perhaps not surprising: although waiting times have been drifting up for years, the surge over the past two years is impossible to miss. Compared with December 2019, median waiting times have risen by 50% and the number of people waiting more than a year has risen from fewer than 1500 to over 310 000.2 What does this plan promise, and will it succeed?

As you might expect, it describes the ways the NHS is looking to increase capacity through extra staff, more …

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