The COVID-19 pandemic has already had major consequences for people’s perceptions and expectations of health and social care services. Workforce shortages were the single biggest challenge in health and social care before the pandemic, and the last 2 years have left staff overstretched and exhausted. Responding to COVID-19 has caused disruption, delays and increased demands on services, resulting in large volumes of unmet need and delayed care, including the longest waiting list for hospital care since current records began.

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