nhs waiting list backlog soars, resulting in over 120,000 patient deaths: official data

Over 120,000 patients died while waiting for NHS treatment last year as the backlog of people on waiting lists soared, according to official data. The NHS England figures revealed that the number of people waiting for routine operations and procedures has reached a record high of 4.7 million.

The data, published by NHS England, showed that in December 2020, there were 224,205 patients who had been waiting over a year for treatment. This is a significant increase from the 1,467 patients in December 2019. Additionally, the figures indicated that 192,169 patients had been waiting for more than six weeks for key diagnostic tests, such as an MRI scan or an endoscopy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly had a significant impact on the NHS, causing delays and disruptions to routine healthcare services. Hospitals have been overwhelmed with coronavirus patients, resulting in the postponement of non-urgent treatments. The suspension of routine services during the first wave of the pandemic, along with ongoing restrictions and staff shortages, has contributed to the substantial backlog.

The Royal College of Surgeons has expressed concern about the growing number of patients waiting for treatment. They warned that the longer people wait for surgery, the more their condition may deteriorate. Delayed treatments can lead to increased pain, disability, and even death.

NHS England has pledged to tackle the backlog and reduce waiting times. They announced a £1 billion initiative to expand capacity in hospitals, including the provision of extra surgical hubs and the utilization of the independent sector to carry out additional procedures. The aim is to increase the number of surgeries performed each week to pre-pandemic levels.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock acknowledged the challenges faced by the NHS and emphasized the importance of addressing the backlog. He stated that the government is committed to providing the necessary resources to help the NHS recover and deliver timely care to all patients.

The impact of the pandemic on the NHS and the resulting increase in waiting times highlight the urgent need for action. As the healthcare system works towards recovery, it is crucial to prioritize patients who have been waiting the longest for treatment.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.

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