In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to prevent the NHS being overwhelmed due to a rapid increase of COVID-19 cases, the UK Government made a decision on 16th March 2020 to put the population of the UK into lockdown.
Before the pandemic began, the BBC reported that 1,600 patients were waiting for non-urgent surgery, however, this number dramatically increased to nearly 388,000 between February 2020 and February 2021. During the winter months of January and February 2021, the pressure on hospitals across the country caused by COVID-19 increased.
NHS England revealed that over 400,000 patients with COVID-19 had been treated over the course of the last year and that this has had a major impact on the NHS. Due to the strain on hospitals, routine operations, procedures and appointments were postponed. Cancer screening was suspended, routine diagnostic work was deferred and only urgent symptomatic cases were prioritised.
Boris Johnson has committed to making additional funds available to the NHS so that the backlog can be reduced, routine operations can be restored and other services could resume so that as many people as possible can be treated. Unfortunately, however, with the continuation of the circulation of Covid-19, the wait experienced by many patients across the UK will be prolonged and the impact will be felt for years to come.