Friday, January 21

Nearly 6 million people on NHS surgery waiting lists in England | NHS


Almost 6 million people expect to receive hospital treatment in England, a new record, the latest NHS monthly performance statistics show.

The number of patients on the waiting list for non-urgent surgery, such as hip or knee replacement or cataract surgery, has risen again, from 5.83 million to 5.98 million. The 5,975,216 people waiting in October is the highest number since registrations began in August 2007.

Labor seized the figures as evidence of mismanagement of the NHS by conservative governments.

“One in 10 people in England is on the NHS waiting lists today and the situation will get even worse, despite unfair tax increases from the Conservatives on workers. Under the Conservatives we pay more and get less, ”said Wes Streeting, the party’s new shadow health and welfare secretary.

“The NHS entered the pandemic with waiting lists at record levels, 100,000 staff shortages in the health service and 112,000 social care vacancies thanks to a decade of conservative mismanagement.”

According to the NHS constitution, 92% of patients must be treated in hospital within 18 weeks of referral from their GP. But by October, 2,053,268 patients – more than a third (34.4%) of all those who waited – had delayed their treatment for longer. It was only the second time that more than 2 million people were forced to wait more than 18 weeks.

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In addition, the number of people forced to wait more than 52 weeks to start treatment was 312,665, compared to 300,566 in September, and almost double the number who were waiting a year earlier, in October 2020, which was 167,067 .

Heads of hospitals and NHS staff are preparing for the coming months to be particularly challenging. Even before the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus emerged two weeks ago, Health Secretary Sajid Javid, England’s National Health Service Chief Amanda Pritchard, and Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, had acknowledged that this winter could put the health service under its most intense strain to date.

The Society for Acute Medicine, which represents hospital doctors treating non-surgical patients, said the NHS is under much greater pressure than it was a year ago.

“The current sentiment in acute medicine is how busy it is even without large numbers of people suffering from Covid and there is immense pressure on the entire front line of the NHS,” said Dr. Tim Cooksley, president of the society.

“Compared to this time last year, it feels much worse and the data shows how difficult things are. The workforce is now struggling not only with the incessant workload, but also with the uncertainty that we all feel. “

A relentless increase in pressure on all types of NHS care has led organizations representing doctors, nurses and heads of hospitals in recent weeks to warn that patient safety is at risk.

Last month, the heads of the 10 NHS regional ambulance services in England estimated in a report that patients in the UK were dying because many ambulances were tied up outside hospitals for too long because A&E staff did not have the ability to support them.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine, which represents emergency care physicians, also warned that more than 6,000 patients a year were dying as emergency units were filling up with people.

NHS England and the Department of Health and Welfare were due to release their “elective recovery plan” last week, detailing how hospitals would address the delay. But it was delayed after Omicron emerged two weeks ago.

The plan, expected to roll out before Christmas, is likely to recommend that patients who have received treatment at the hospital receive fewer follow-up appointments in order to free up consultants for more surgeries, and an expansion of treatments. Surgical without Covid. hubs ”, as well as other measures.

More people seeking cancer care are facing a delay, the latest figures also show. The number of patients who waited more than two weeks to see a cancer specialist after being referred urgently by a GP increased to 42,430 in October, the highest figure in 12 years. The proportion of patients treated within the standard was reduced to a minimum of 81.3%. vs. 93% target).

Additionally, only 67.8% of cancer patients, the smallest proportion ever, underwent their first treatment within two months of emergency referral, well below the target of 85%.

Daisy Cooper, a health spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, noted that ambulance services are struggling to respond to the number of 999 calls they are receiving and that the number of people forced to wait at least 12 hours in an A&E to get a bed has shot up. to 10,646 – a new record.

NHS England said the service was busier than ever last month with a record number of 999 calls and more than 2 million people seen at A&E or an urgent treatment center.


www.theguardian.com

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