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Longest NHS waits ‘virtually eliminated’

The NHS Elective Recovery Plan, published earlier this year, set out how the health service would address the backlogs that have inevitably built up during COVID.

The first step in the plan was focused on those patients waiting two years or more by the end of July, except where they chose to wait longer, did not want to travel to be seen faster, or for very complex cases requiring specialist treatment.

There were more than 22,500 people who had been waiting two years or more at the start of the year, and a further 51,000 who would have breached two years by the end of July have also been treated.

This recovery has been delivered despite higher levels of COVID, with hospitals treating more than 220,000 patients with the virus since the plan was published in February.

Thanks to the hard work and innovation of doctors, nurses, therapists, physios and other NHS staff that has been reduced to just 2,777, despite COVID and other pressures, of whom 1,579 opted to defer treatment and 1,030 are very complex cases, as set out in the plan.

NHS staff are working hard to ensure the remaining patients who have not yet been treated are seen as quickly as possible.

NHS Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard said: “Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff the NHS has delivered the first mile-stone in our Elective Recovery Plan.

“It has only been possible because the NHS has continued to reform the way we deliver care, using innovative techniques and adopting pioneering technology like robot surgery, and through building new relationships and mutual aid arrangements across systems to offer patients the opportunity to be transferred elsewhere and get the care they need as quickly as possible.

“The next phase will focus on patients waiting longer than 18 months, building on the fantastic work already done, and while it is a significant challenge our remarkable staff have shown that when we are given the tools and resources we need, the NHS delivers for our patients”.

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Emma Morriss
Emma Morriss
Emma is Head of Marketing and Content at Uniphar | Commercial, part of Uniphar. She works with pharma and biotech companies to strategise and deliver highly effective brand optimisation solutions across the brand lifecycle from pre-launch to post-reimbursement.

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