Largest NHS waiting list on record

Private hospitals reducing impact on NHS waiting lists

Responding to today’s latest NHS performance stats, David Hare, Chief Executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN), said: “With today’s figures showing the largest NHS waiting list on record it is clear that the government must make dealing with the backlog of care a major priority in the months and years ahead".

Private sector contracted to deal with NHS back-log

He goes on to say, “The independent healthcare sector has played a significant role in ensuring non-covid NHS treatment could continue during the pandemic and will need to play a significant role to help the NHS recover services.

"Independent providers have now delivered over 3.2 million NHS operations, consultations, chemotherapy sessions and scans since last March under the historic national deal with NHS England – with over 305,000 NHS procedures delivered by the sector in February 2021 alone.

"The NHS and the independent sector will build on this extraordinary partnership to give NHS patients access to the best possible NHS care, free at the point of use."

The NHS Confederation report the following key points:

1. The unprecedented disruption to elective surgery activity in 2020 produced the largest official waiting list on record, with 4.52 million incomplete patient pathways in December 2020, up from 4.3 million a year before.

Hidden waiting list

2. There were 5.9 million fewer new referral-to-treatment (RTT) pathways in 2020 compared to 2019, representing a 30 per cent fall. The concern is that this number represents a hidden waiting list of people yet to join the official queue. 

3. Trauma, orthopaedics and ophthalmology have been affected the most as are also the areas with many conditions that will steadily worsen if left untreated. 

4. In addition to increased numbers of people waiting, most can expect to wait far longer for care. A closer look at the distribution of time spent waiting shows that 21 per cent of patients (970,000) have waited longer than half a year and 15 per cent of patients (700,293) have already waited 40 weeks or longer. 

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