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Long delays for surgery ‘will trigger public health crisis’

Surgery waiting lists will triple by 2030, triggering a “population health crisis”, unless there is a huge increase in NHS capacity, according to new research.

Experts from Birmingham University have said efforts to reduce hospital backlogs are not enough and that it is “impossible” for the existing frontline workers to tackle increasing waiting lists.

The most in-depth analysis of the challenge facing hospital waiting lists in England has revealed 4.3 million people need invasive surgery or procedures such as endoscopy, the largest number since 2007.

Of these, an estimated 3.3 million are on a “hidden waiting list”, likely to need treatment but yet to be identified by the NHS due to the impact of the pandemic.

More than 2.3 million people, 53% of the waiting list, are of working age, meaning their delayed diagnoses and treatments could have an impact on the economy.

Without a substantial increase in NHS capacity, the team behind the work say the total figure for those waiting for surgery in England could rise to 14.6 million by 2030.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: The Times, 26 June 2022


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