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August 31, 2022

Huge Slash in Backlog of Longest Waiting Patients in England

People who have waited more than two years for routine operations in England have been offered treatment further from home to speed up their care. NHS current figures show that the number of people waiting longer than two years for routine operations in England has fallen from 22,500 at the start of the year, to fewer than 200.

This does not however include over 2,500 who are complex cases or chose not to travel for speedier treatment. This according to NHS England is a milestone achievement in its plans to eliminate backlogs caused by Covid.

Despite this, a record 6.6 million people are still waiting for hospital treatment.

Health officials have also said that more work needs to be done to reduce the number as about 400,000 people are currently waiting more than a year for treatment and the winter months will probably bring more pressures on staff and delays.

The next on the government’s agenda is to eliminate the backlog of patients who have waited 18months. With about 50,000 persons on that list, the plan is to clear the backlog by April 2023.

During the past two years, as operations were canceled to free up beds for Covid patients, the number of people who have been waiting a long time for routine hospital treatment increased astronomically. This has caused people to borrow thousands of pounds for private treatment.

In order to reduce this backlog, patients have been offered travel and accommodation costs to be treated in other parts of the country. Large number of patients have been sent to private hospitals for surgical procedures while community diagnostic centres have been set up to conduct checks and scans.

NHS England says it plans to virtually eradicate the list of people waiting more than two years for treatment, by the end of July. The list has currently been reduced to 168 patients who mostly live in the South West. This was the area worst affected by absence of Covid staff and pressure on the health service.

Consultant Gavin Jennings says his hospital- the Sulis Hospital Bath has been innovative in the way it has treated extra patients to bring down waiting lists. The hospital has been treating patients from seven local hospitals in the region - more than 1,100 extra patients since September.

Measures adopted included- extended theatre times, a temporary operating theatre and close relationships with the local trust. The private hospital, now owned by a local NHS trust, plans to take more people from farther distances for different kinds of orthopaedic surgery and eye procedures.

Clinical director and consultant Gavin Jennings said it has been a lot of hard work.

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