Let's talk
On point paper

Going swimmingly or treading water: Is the Elective Recovery Plan bringing down NHS waiting lists?

Health Life sciences
Dr Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard Partner & Head of Health Analytics
Dr Ben Bray Partner and Evidence Generation Lead
Dr Rebecca Sloan Senior Consultant

NHS waiting lists have risen to record numbers since the pandemic. Our 2021 report highlighted a total of 5.8 million people on the waiting list and a further 7.8 million people with potential hidden health needs as at September 2021.

This increase in waiting lists is a persistent, indirect effect of the Covid-19 pandemic. Attempts to bring down the record-breaking numbers of people waiting for treatment have been ramping up. The NHS Elective Recovery Plan (ERP), launched in February 2022, is intended to make a major contribution to reducing waiting lists.

In this paper, we set out:

  • how the national waiting list has changed over the year and the impact of the ERP;
  • inequalities in the waiting list by speciality and geography and how the ERP has so far impacted regions differently; and
  • our projections for past and future – how our previous projections compare to 2022’s waiting list and what our projections are for 2027 in light of over a year's worth of new data being available.

Read the paper