NHS waiting lists ‘worst for a decade’ as Covid pandemic delays routine treatment for millions


THE number waiting for NHS treatment is at the worst level in a decade after the pandemic caused delays for millions, new stats show.

Figures from NHS England, published today, show that nearly 140,000 sick Brits have been left languishing for over a year for an op.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

The NHS waiting list is at its 'worst in a decade', new figures show

1

The NHS waiting list is at its ‘worst in a decade’, new figures showCredit: Getty Images – Getty

It’s more than 100 times as many as 12 months earlier and the highest number since 2008 – with Covid blamed for cancelling non-urgent care.

However, the NHS data shows cancer services have returned to where they were before coronavirus hit, with almost 200,000 referrals in September.

In the same month, 1.72 million people were waiting more than 18 weeks to start treatment.

It’s less than in August when 1.96 million were on the waiting list, but is up by almost a million on the equivalent figure for September 2019 of 672,112.

The total number of people admitted for routine treatment in hospitals was also down 27 per cent in September, compared with a year ago.

WAITING TIMES

NHS data shows that in September, 139,545 patients were left waiting more than 52 weeks for treatment.

It compares to 1,305 the year before – a 107-fold rise.

But it is in an improvement on the previous months.

The year-on-year decrease recorded in August was 43 per cent, and in July the drop was 55 per cent.

 

Meanwhile, accident and emergency attendances at hospitals in England continue to be below levels of a year ago.

READ  Cancer survivors 'have higher heart risk'

A total of 1.6 million attendances were recorded in October, down 26 per cent from 2.2 million in the same month of 2019.

NHS England said the fall is “likely to be a result of the Covid-19 response” – suggesting people are still staying away from A&E departments because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The year-on-year drop in A&E attendances of 26 per cent in October compares with falls of 20 per cent in September, 19 per cent in August and 30 per cent in July.

CANCER CARE

NHS cancer services are back to pre-pandemic levels, the data shows.

A total of 199,801 urgent cancer referrals were made by GPs in England in September 2020, up from 195,196 in September 2019 – a rise of two per cent.

This compares with a year-on-year drop of 15 per cent in August, 19 per cent in July and 21 per cent in June.

Urgent referrals where breast cancer symptoms were present – though not initially suspected – were down from 13,475 in September 2019 to 10,963 in September 2020, a fall of 19 per cent. 

An NHS spokesman said: “Despite rapidly rising Covid hospitalisations, cancer services are now back at pre-pandemic levels, GP appointments are running ahead of this time last year, and hospitals have made particular progress in bringing back overnight elective operations.

“But it is clear that where there are higher levels of Covid we are seeing an impact on routine non-urgent care, so the public can play their part by continuing to help stop the spread of the virus.”

According to NHS England, the NHS was back to 80 per cent of overnight planned operations at the end of October compared to the same point last year, 100 per cent of CT scans and 88 per cent of MRIs.

Planned treatment in the South East is back to 94 per cent and 74 per cent in the North West where Covid infections are higher, it said.

Dr Hilary Jones discusses a study that provides new estimates of breast cancer risks associated with HRT

 

 

 





READ SOURCE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here