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Covid could cause 'tsunami of cancelled NHS operations'


There could be a "tsunami" of cancelled operations this winter as the NHS copes with rising numbers of coronavirus patients, leading surgeons are warning.

Members of the Royal College of Surgeons of England say they doubt the NHS can meet targets to restore surgery back to near pre-pandemic levels.

Planned procedures such as hip replacements were paused to free up beds during lockdown in the spring. And hospitals have since been dealing with a backlog.

In July, NHS England boss Sir Simon Stevens told trusts hospitals should by September 2020 be performing at least 80% of their September 2019 rates of:

  • overnight planned procedures
  • outpatient or day-case procedures

And by October, this proportion should rise to 90%.

But data suggests more than two million people have been waiting longer than 18 weeks for routine operations, with 83,000 waiting more than a year - up from 2,000 before the pandemic.

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Source: BBC News, 6 October 2020

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