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Waiting lists for NHS hospitals in England hit 6.4 million

pharmafile | June 30, 2022 | News story | Business Services  

The number of people waiting for routine hospital treatments has grown to 6.4 million, the highest since records began in April 2007.

This comes as the CEO of NHS England announced plans to “virtually eliminate” the waiting list for patients who have waited over two years for treatment. Despite waiting list numbers soaring in recent months, the number of patients who have waited for two years or more has fallen from a peak of 22,500 in January to just 6,700.

Patients will have been given the option to be treated more quickly by receiving treatment at hospitals in different parts of the country.

NHS CEO Amanda Pritchard said: “As part of the biggest and most ambitious catch-up programme in NHS history, staff are now on track to virtually eliminate two-year waits by the end of July.”

Royal College of Nursing Director for England, Patricia Marqus, said: “Nursing staff are only too aware of the impact waiting for care has on patients. Every effort is being made to reach those who have been waiting the longest, against a backdrop off extreme pressures across the whole NHS system.

“Investment in initiatives, beds and clinics are one thing but waiting lists can only be brought down if this is matched with investment in the nursing workforce, which has seen more than 25,000 leavers in the last year alone.”

As it stands, trauma and orthopaedic departments have the largest waiting lists in the UK, with 731,000 patients queueing for treatments such as knee and hip replacements – 55,000 of whom have been waiting over a year.

Tim Cooksley, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: “All parts of the NHS are unquestionably struggling.”

Lina Adams

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