NHS waiting lists will take ‘many years’ to deal with experts say

Tens of thousands of patients waiting to be seen will be in excruciating pain and unable to get on with day-to-day family life or work.

Chancellor has only done ‘half the job’, warn NHS bosses as they call for waiting time targets to be suspended.

As many as 6 million “hidden” patients could join the queue for NHS treatment in the coming months, swelling official waiting lists to records not seen for more than a decade, health chiefs have warned.

In the wake of a Budget that offered no new investment for the health service ministers must level with the public that previous guarantees on waiting times are now impossible to meet, the head of the NHS Confederation has said.

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Data from the NHS in England show 4.52 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of December 2020, the highest number since records began in August 2007.

Based on what it called a realistic scenario of NHS activity in 2021, almost two-thirds of these patients could be expected to join waiting lists, with the total expected to grow from 4.6 million in December 2020 to more than 8 million by October this year.

Healthcare waiting lists in the UK are now longer than they have been for about 20 years.

NHS Chief Executive, Danny Mortimer said that once the impacts of the spike of Covid-19 in January and February are understood, waiting lists are “still going to be significantly higher than we have seen for a very, very long time”.

A total of 4.52 million people are currently on the NHS waiting list, with 224,000 of those waiting longer than 52 weeks.

President of the Royal College of Surgeon, Professor Neil Mortensen, said “a big plan” will be needed to tackle the waiting list issue.

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