‘Urgent action needed’ as NHS faces growing waiting lists

Pharmaceutical News

A new report from Reform think tank and specialist firm Edge Health has revealed the extent of the challenges that the NHS is currently facing, as waitlists for hospital treatment continue to grow.

The report has found that the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent delaying of non-urgent procedures has had a ‘severe’ impact on waiting lists.

The number of people waiting 52 weeks or more for hospital treatment has jumped by 7139% from March to December 2020, the report found.

A worst-case scenario forecast indicates that the number of individuals waiting 52 weeks or more for hospital treatment will reach 375,000 by April 2021 – a 12,008% increase compared to March 2020.

On top of that, the report indicates that waiting lists could increase even further as GPs potentially catch up on the number of delayed or missed referrals.

This is due to the fact that since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been almost six million less referrals compared to the same period in 2019, reflecting a backlog in primary care settings.

“The healthcare system is now at a crucial point; well into the third national lockdown caused by increasing infection rates due to new virus strains – now declining – and a mass vaccination programme,” commented the report’s authors.

“A clear plan is needed to increase the service’s resilience, both by tackling the backlog and implementing changes that will mitigate against delays in routine care and procedures during future crises,” they added.

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