Patient safety

09.11.17

Patients waiting more than six months for treatment soars by 40%

The number of patients waiting longer than six months for treatment has increased by 40%, NHS figures have shown today.

Analysis of the figures by the Royal College of Surgeons found that 40% more patients waited more than six months, and 59% more patients were waiting at least nine months for surgery in September 2017 compared to the same period last year.

It also found an increase of 5% in patients waiting for longer than six months compared to August 2017.

This rise in waiting times comes as winter approaches, adding extra pressure to the NHS.

Professor Derek Anderson, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said: “With 40% more patients waiting over six months for treatment than this time last year, it is clear that the NHS is under mounting pressure. Waiting several months for treatment could have a serious impact on a patient’s quality of life and the effectiveness of their eventual surgery.”

He continued: “With bed capacity expected to be at a premium due to continuing issues with social care, some patients needing non-urgent surgery this winter simply will not enter an operating theatre until the spring.

“With the 18 week waiting time target already de-prioritised, and Simon Stevens saying that without an increase in funding, waiting time targets may have to be abolished, we are concerned that before long waiting six months for non-urgent surgery may begin to become the norm.

“Funding is simply not keeping up with patient demand, and although there is scope for the NHS to be more efficient, efficiency savings alone will not ensure patients are treated in the timely and safe manner that is expected of the NHS.”

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