Nuffield Trust response to NHS monthly combined performance stats

Sarah Scobie responds to the latest monthly performance figures from NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Press release

Published: 10/12/2020

Nuffield Trust: Enormous impact on non-Covid care will be felt for quite some time

Responding to the latest monthly performance figures from NHS England and NHS Improvement, Nuffield Trust Deputy Director of Research Sarah Scobie said:

“These figures show the enormous impact that the pandemic is having on non-Covid-19 care.

“Between the two waves of the pandemic, the NHS was not able to catch up with the demand for scheduled care, pushing up the number of people waiting longer than a year to levels not seen since 2008. This build-up will take time to work through but sadly could be just the tip of the iceberg with those people not coming into the system storing up greater care needs in the future.

“In November, we saw a fall in the number of people seeking emergency care from hospital A&E departments. We have seen these numbers steadily decline by 14% since August, and they are far below levels we’d expect to see during the early winter months. Some of this may be due to people increasingly ringing NHS 111 as part of a new initiative to promote a “call first” A&E. But, just as we saw in the first lockdown, the fear of catching the virus within hospitals may also be putting people off going to A&E – a real concern if they have serious health problems.

“The NHS this week became the first western health system to begin roll-out of the first Covid-19 vaccine – a huge step forward in protecting people from the virus. But as the pandemic continues to drive up waiting times and puts people off addressing health concerns early, the service will be feeling the effects for quite some time.”

Notes to editors

  • The Nuffield Trust is an independent health think tank. We aim to improve the quality of health care in the UK by providing evidence-based research and policy analysis and informing and generating debate.
  • For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Simon Keen on 07780 475 571 or