The postponement of non-urgent elective operations was vital in ensuring that the National Health Service had sufficient capacity to manage COVID-19 demand, although the most urgent and emergency treatments continued to be provided. This pause in activity led to an increase in waiting times following referral. The latest performance against the target for 92% of patients to start treatment within 18 weeks following referral was 66.2% in May 2020. Performance against the target of 85% of patients having a first definitive treatment for cancer within 62 days following an urgent general practitioner referral was 69.9% in May. Performance against the target for 95% of patients to be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours upon arrival at accident and emergency was 92.8% in June 2020.
We continue to work closely with the NHS and partners, and guidance has already been issued on starting to restore urgent non-COVID-19 services safely, whilst ensuring surge capacity can be stood up again if needed.