Responding to the publication today of NHS England’s monthly performance statistics, Tim Gardner, Senior Policy Fellow at the Health Foundation, said:  

'Today’s data shows the NHS faces tough times ahead. COVID-19-related hospital admissions are rising again, although the success of the vaccine roll out has weakened the link between the virus and hospitalisations and deaths. At the same time, increasing sickness absence linked to the growing number of infections in the community will exacerbate longstanding NHS workforce shortages.

'While NHS staff are working hard and with dedication, this has not been enough to prevent the waiting list growing by nearly 200,000 in the last month, reaching a record high of 5.3 million. Of those, over a third of a million have been waiting more than a year. 

'Major A&E departments are increasingly busy, with over 100,000 more people attending in June compared with the same time in 2019, making it the busiest month on record. 

'If demand for emergency services continues to grow in the coming months, hospitals will be placed under severe strain with major consequences for the efforts to tackle the growing backlog in routine treatment. With the government poised to confirm the final easing of lockdown will go ahead on 19 July, this data is a clear warning to proceed with caution.'


  • There were 1,436,613 attendances at major A&E departments in June 2021, 102, 476 (7.7%) more than the 1,334,137 visits in June 2019.
  • The waiting list for consultant-led elective care reached 5.3 million by the end of May 2021, an increase of 182,832 from the 5.12 million patients waiting at the end of April 2021.  336,733 of those waiting had waited over 52 weeks at the end of May 2021, compared to 385,490 at the end of April 2021.
  • 1,728,981 (32.6%) of patients on the waiting list had waited longer than the 18 week standard by the end of May 2021, compared to 1,811,899 (35.4%) by the end of April 2021.

Media contact

Creina Lilburne
07941 156 827

Further reading


Longer waits, missing patients and catching up


Six charts looking at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on consultant-led elective care.

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