NHS England’s record-long waiting list for routine treatment will take THREE YEARS, says outgoing boss Sir Simon Stevens amid fears it could be 13 MILLION by the end of the year
- It will take three years to treat UK’s record number of waiting patients
- The waiting list could more than double to 13 million if no action is taken
- It comes as Labor analysis showed that one in ten people is on the waiting list
According to the outgoing NHS boss, the backlog in England of patients waiting for routine treatment will be at least three years.
Sir Simon Stevens warned that 13 million people will need care ‘if no action is taken’ – more than a quarter of all adults in England.
A record high of 5.3 million people are already waiting for surgeries such as knee and hip replacements, with the coronavirus causing a massive disruption in healthcare.
Newly appointed health minister Sajid Javid revealed this week that he was “appalled” by forecasts that the waiting list could more than double by the end of the year.
Sir Simon, who will step down as CEO later this month, said it is unlikely to reach such a high level as the NHS won’t sit on its hands to catch up.
But during a Royal Society of Medicine webinar, he claimed “effective action” was needed to fix the problem.
Figures from the NHS England show that more than 5.3 million people are waiting for treatment in England, the highest number since registration began in 2007. Ministers fear the list could rise to 13 million
Sir Simon Stevens warned 13 million people would wait for treatment ‘if no action was taken’
More than 1,200 experts attack No10 on July 19
More than 1,200 leading scientists are protesting No10’s decision to go ahead with ‘Freedom Day’ on Monday, labeling the move as ‘criminal’ and the government’s return to pursuing herd immunity as ‘unethical’ ‘ label.
A coalition of experts and doctors signed a letter in the medical journal The Lancet criticizing Boris Johnson’s ‘unscientific’ decision last night, amid rising numbers of Covid infections and soaring hospitalizations and deaths.
The group – which includes four prominent SAGE experts – argued that millions of adults should be double vaccinated and that doses should also be given to children to relax restrictions to be safe.
It came as Britain recorded 50 Covid deaths for the first time since April, with cases showing no signs of slowing down, jumping a quarter in a week to a new six-month high with 36,660 positive tests.
Among the signatories are David Cameron’s former Chief Scientific Adviser Sir David King, as well as BMA Board Chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul, former Professor Christina Pagel, a mathematician at University College London and independent SAGE member.
The prime minister confirmed that all restrictions would be lifted next week. However, No10 has dropped all mentions that the final phase of its roadmap is “irreversible”, with a minister hinting today that the drastic action could be re-adopted this winter.
He added: “Obviously that’s not what should happen in the next three years or 30 months or so.
“It’s possible to deploy the extra resources, the operational capacity, new ways to perform rapid diagnostics, that will mean it won’t happen.
“But that’s… what could happen if there wasn’t effective action.”
Hospitals face “three major uncertainties” as they try to squash the waiting list, he said.
Sir Simon, who will join the House of Lords, said: ‘The first is how many coronavirus patients they will be caring for in the next 12, 24, 36 months.
“Second, there will be the ability to adjust some of those restrictions on infection control requirements, which are obviously vital as long as they are needed.
“And third, to what extent will patients sign up for care if they haven’t done so in the past 15 or 18 months?”
As it looked at the end of May, 5.3 million people in England were waiting for treatment.
The waiting list has continued to grow during the pandemic and the latest figure is the highest since registration began in 2007.
But health chiefs have already said they are starting to catch up, with people waiting more than 18 weeks for routine surgeries — such as hip replacements and cataract surgery — falling by more than 80,000 in May.
Hospitals also picked up treatment for those who had waited more than a year for treatment.
Meanwhile, Labor analysis last night revealed that one in ten people are waiting for routine NHS treatment in nearly two dozen areas of England.
Figures show that 22 out of 106 clinical client groups – NHS bodies managing care in local areas – were building waiting lists that amounted to a tenth of their population.
More than one in seven people waited for care in Birmingham and Solihull, the hardest hit part of the country, according to data from the House of Commons Library.
Shadow Health Minister Jonathan Ashworth urged ministers to push forward ‘the investment needed to reduce waiting lists’ and abandon plans to reform the NHS.
Mr. Javid plans to merge all CCGs into integrated healthcare systems, which will have larger budgets and oversee healthcare in much larger areas.
But Ashworth accused the government of embarking on a top-down reorganization of the NHS at the wrong time.
Critics have dismissed the reform — the health service’s biggest upheaval in a decade — as a power grab that could open the door to health service privatization.
Official data also revealed A&E units had their busiest month on record in June, with more than 1.4 million visitors in June 2020