NHS waiting lists could take SEVEN YEARS, health chiefs say

NHS waiting lists could take SEVEN YEARS, health chiefs say

NHS waiting lists could take SEVEN YEARS to clear amid fears backlog will hit 13m without annual £10bn cash boost, health chiefs say

  • The NHS Confederation and NHS Providers say patients are ‘genuinely in peril’
  • Health bosses say extra £10billion in funding a year is needed to clear backlog
  • There are currently a record 5.5million patients on England’s NHS waiting lists

NHS waiting lists could hit 13million and take seven years to clear without an extra £10billion of funding per year, health bosses warn today.

Patients face being ‘condemned to further pain and delays to treatment’ if ministers fail to recognise the ‘seismic’ impact Covid-19 has had on services, it is claimed.

The NHS Confederation and NHS Providers, which represent Health Service organisations, say patients are ‘genuinely in peril’.

Recent gains in cancer treatment and heart care could stall and advances in mental health services could slip backwards without the cash, they add.

Bosses at the NHS Confederation and NHS Providers say patients are ‘genuinely in peril’ and that £10billion in funding a year is needed to help clear the backlog on NHS waiting lists

The NHS waiting list in England already stands at a record 5.5million, with more than 300,000 waiting more than a year for treatment.

This is expected to climb as millions who delayed seeking care during the pandemic come forward.

The warning comes as the Government finalises future NHS funding as part of its spending review. Operations, scans and appointments were cancelled as the NHS focused on treating Covid patients.

The NHS Confederation and NHS Providers say the Health Service needs between £3.5billion and £4.5billion each year for the next three years to recover from this backlog.

And they say a further £4billion to £5billion is needed each year to cover additional costs arising from the pandemic.

The funding should be in addition to the costs of delivering the Government’s manifesto commitments of building 40 new hospitals and reforming social care, as well as meeting ongoing costs such as NHS Test and Trace and Covid vaccines, they add.

Bosses say the Health Service needs between £3.5billion and £4.5billion each year for the next three years to recover from this backlog and a further £4billion to tackle the pandemic costs

The costings are laid out in a report by the two organisations, which is based on a survey of bosses at England’s 213 hospital, mental health, community and ambulance trusts.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: ‘NHS frontline funding for 2022/23 needs to rise by around £10billion in addition to capital, social care and central government Covid costs.

Trust leaders are worried that anything short of £10billion will force them to cut services.

‘They are worried that, despite best efforts at the frontline, the 13million waiting list they are desperate to avoid will become inevitable. And this backlog will take five to seven years to clear.

‘They worry they won’t be able to provide prompt, high-quality, safe care to all who need it.’

A government spokesman said: ‘We are committed to making sure the NHS has everything it needs to continue providing excellent care to the public as we tackle the [pandemic] backlogs.

‘This year alone we have already provided a further £29billion to support health and care services, including an extra £1billion to tackle the backlog.’

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