The last two years have been the most challenging in the history of the NHS, and staff across the service – and many thousands of volunteers – have worked tirelessly to:
- expand and flex services to meet the changing demands of the pandemic.
- develop and roll out new treatments, new services and new pathways to respond to the needs of patients with COVID-19 and those with other conditions.
- recover services that the pandemic has disrupted.
In 2022/23 the NHS will continue to restore services, meeting the new care demands and reducing the care backlogs that are a direct consequence of the pandemic. The NHS also needs to manage the material additional costs caused by inflationary pressures. This includes meeting the cost of the pay increase for 2022/23 above the level included in mandate funding. These additional costs mean NHS England has had to scale back national programme budgets and to release reserves.
COVID-19 is still with us in 2022/23 and still needs to be managed. The vaccination programme continues, and we need to meet the needs of people who require hospital care for COVID-19 and those with longer term symptoms following COVID-19 infection. We must also remain prepared for further peaks as the pandemic runs its course. This includes plans to manage and increase capacity to respond to demand that may be fuelled by further waves of COVID-19 and/or severe outbreaks of respiratory and other illness over the winter months.
This business plan sets out NHS England’s work in leading and supporting the NHS to respond to these challenges as well as the opportunities to transform the delivery of care and health outcomes through collaborative system working, and the use of data and digital technologies.
This plan doesn’t describe everything we will do, but highlights our key commitments for 2022/23 under ten headings that reflect the main themes of our mandate from government:
- Support the NHS to attract and retain more people, working differently in a compassionate and inclusive culture.
- Continue to lead the NHS in responding to COVID-19 ever more effectively.
- Deliver more elective care to tackle the elective backlog, reduce long waits and improve performance against cancer waiting times standards.
- Improve the responsiveness of urgent and emergency care and increase its capacity.
- Improve access to primary care.
- Improve mental health services and services for people with a learning disability and/or autistic people.
- Deliver improvements in maternity care.
- Prevent ill health and tackle health inequalities.
- Drive the integration of care and enable change.
- Improve productivity and reduce variation across the health system.
Amanda Pritchard, NHS Chief Executive.