Nurses been heavily praised by NHS leaders for “virtually eliminating” the longest-ever
patient treatment waiting list backlog in England. They significantly reduced backlogs of
patients that had stacked up during the period of the pandemic. 6 months into the year we
saw the passing of the first milestone in the NHS Elective Recovery Plan, which was
published earlier in February 2022.
NHS England said today that a list of 22,500 patients awaiting treatment for two years at the
start of the year has been reduced to just 2,777, “thanks to the tireless efforts of NHS staff”.
Of these, over 1500 patients decided that they would rather wait longer in order to be
treated locally and 1,030 were very complex cases that it would not be clinically safe to
move a patient to another provider.
This leaves under 200 people waiting due to lack of capacity. NHS England said staff were
now “working hard to ensure the remaining 168 patients who have not yet been treated are
seen as quickly as possible.” The national body also stated that 51,000 patients who would
have breached the two-year waiting list by the end of July have also been treated.
At the end of July, three NHS regions had no patients waiting two years or more for routine
care, with three regions having reduced the numbers to single figures, said NHS England. It
noted that the recovery had been delivered despite higher levels of COVID 19, with hospitals
treating more than 220,000 patients with the virus since the plan was published.
It has been described as the most ambitious catch-up plan in health service history.
Amanda Pritchard, the chief executive of NHS England said: “Thanks to the hard work and
dedication of our staff, the NHS has delivered the first milestone in our NHS Recovery Plan.
“The next phase of our plan will focus on patients waiting longer than 18 months, building
on the fantastic work already done,” she added, “while this is a significant challenge, our
remarkable staff have shown that when we are given the tools and resources we need, the
NHS delivers for our patients.”
Danny Mortimer, deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said the waiting list
reduction was “an important milestone” for the NHS, whose teams have been working
“exceptionally hard” to recover their services after the worst of the pandemic. He also
added: “With the overall waiting list for elective care continuing to grow nationally, NHS
staff know that this vital work has not yet finished.
“They will continue to do everything they can for their patients, in the face of profound
challenge and while also tackling other challenges around mental health, community and
primary care, which warrant equal attention.”