Surgery team

NHS announces major capacity expansion

The NHS’s overall treatment offer is set to be boosted by almost 130 new estate developments up and down the country.

As part of what the NHS is describing as the “biggest and most ambitious” catch-up plan in its history, hundreds of thousands of patients will benefit from an estimated 780,000 more surgeries and outpatient appointments thanks to 37 new surgical hubs, 10 expanded hubs, and 81 new dedicated elective care theatres.

The Targeted Investment Fund will provide the health sector with nearly 600 new elective care beds, almost 90 additional critical care beds, and dozens of cutting-edge elective theatres across the country.

NHS National Director of Elective Recovery, Sir Jim Mackey, said: “It is testament to the hard work of NHS staff that even as they’ve experienced some of the toughest months in NHS history with ‘twindemic’ pressures during winter and continued Covid cases, they have made significant progress in the first year of our elective recovery plan.

“It is thanks to the hard work of staff and thanks to the fact we are a national health service that we hit the first milestone and remain on track to hit our next ambition by April – staff have taken every opportunity to bring long waits down, including through offering patients the chance to travel for their treatment.

“As part of the biggest catch-up programme in NHS history, our efforts are not stopping there and this additional capacity will ensure we continue to address the covid backlog as we increase the number of tests, operations and appointments the NHS can offer.

“As, ever patients should continue to come forward for care when they need it – using 999 and A&E in an emergency and NHS 111 Online otherwise.”

With the announcement coming a year after the NHS published its Elective Recovery Plan, in the last 12 months, the latest figures suggest the health service has performed nearly 120 million diagnostics tests, which is 6% higher than the previous year, and delivered 13.5 million elective appointments and treatments, which is 9% higher than the previous year.

Health secretary Steve Barclay said: “We have made great progress in the past year in tackling the Covid backlogs, but too many patients are still waiting too long for treatment.

“These new surgical hubs speed up access to treatment for hundreds of thousands of patients up and down the country – providing 780,000 additional surgery and outpatient appointments.

“Bringing together the skills and expertise of staff under one roof will ensure we keep pace with future demand and rapidly reduce waiting times, getting patients access to vital procedures when and where they need them.”

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