Year-long treat­ment de­lays soar

The Daily Telegraph - - Coronaviru­s - By Lizzie Roberts

THE num­ber of pa­tients wait­ing more than a year to be­gin hos­pi­tal treat­ment in England rose by 64 per cent be­tween June and July, figures show.

Ac­cord­ing to NHS England data, 83,203 pa­tients had been wait­ing more than 52 weeks be­tween re­fer­ral and start­ing treat­ment in July, up from 50,536 in June. The last time the fig­ure was higher was in Novem­ber 2008.

Mean­while, a record num­ber of peo­ple are hav­ing to wait more than 18 weeks to start treat­ment, reach­ing 2.15 mil­lion in July, more than three times last year’s figures and the highest since cur­rent records be­gan in 2007.

The Royal Col­lege of Sur­geons warned that surgery could once again be brought to a “stand­still”.

Pro­fes­sor Neil Mortensen, its pres­i­dent, said: “Pa­tients who have been wait­ing many months, even a year or more, for their treat­ment can­not af­ford to wait un­til next spring.

“We ur­gently need to build up our hos­pi­tal re­serves. Flu, to­gether with con­tin­u­ing lo­cal Covid out­breaks, must not bring surgery to a stand­still again, or thou­sands more will suf­fer.”

Dr Su­san Cross­land, pres­i­dent of the So­ci­ety for Acute Medicine, called on the Gov­ern­ment to “pub­lish full win­ter-cri­sis plan­ning pro­pos­als” as pres­sure was “creep­ing up” on the NHS.

“The re­duc­tion in acute beds is a major con­cern for us,” she said.

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