Women, low earners and ethnic minorities are faring worse on NHS waiting lists, according to research.
Healthwatch, a patient watchdog, warned there was a risk that those with “more demands on their lives” such as long hours or caring responsibilities could end up at the back of the queue.
It urged hospitals to be proactive in managing waiting lists and communicate with patients who might otherwise be left in limbo.
The Healthwatch survey found 54% of women had waited more than four months for treatment, compared with 42% of men.
They were also more likely to have had treatment delayed or cancelled, and to feel that a delay to treatment had made an impact on their ability to work.
Some 54% of people on lower incomes had been waiting more than four months for hospital care, compared with 34% of higher wealth individuals. They reported a greater impact on their mental health and their ability to work.
And 57% of respondents from ethnic minorities had faced a delay to or cancellation of hospital treatment, compared with 42 per cent of white British people.
Louise Ansari, Healthwatch England’s national director, said the factors could have a “layering effect” that meant people had a much poorer experience, calling for “an additional specific focus on those groups” so that they do not end up “in worse and worse health”.
Read full story (paywalled)
Source: The Times, 8 June 2022