Backlogs affecting every aspect of care – from GP appointments to hospital treatment – plague the NHS. Around 6.4 million patients are waiting to start hospital treatment in England. In other words, ten per cent of the population are in line for treatment.
According to the latest figures by NHS England, there are 2.48 million people who have been waiting over 18 weeks for treatment.
Another 323,093 have been waiting over one year. Waits at the Barts Health NHS Trust in London have reached 200 weeks – nearly four years – for operations.
The government has promised £9bn to tackle the backlog of elective operations – those scheduled in advance because they’re not urgently necessary.
But there’s also the so-called post-Covid-19 “hidden backlog” of those who need care but have had their referrals cancelled or are not showing up to clinics and hospitals. On top of that, there could be millions missing from official data, which would mean the numbers are even higher than we think.