NHS patients in England who have been waiting more than two years for surgery are being offered hospital treatment in alternative parts of the country.
More than 6,000 long-term waiting-list patients are being offered travel and accommodation costs where appropriate to help the NHS through the backlog.
Health officials want to ensure nobody is waiting more than two years by the end of July.
Three patients waiting for surgery in Derby have already received treatment in the Northumbria health region, with another two patients booked in, NHS England said.
And in south-west London, 17 orthopaedic patients from the South West of England are being treated, with another 11 patients set to follow in the coming weeks.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said the number of two-year waits had already reduced by two-thirds since January.
"Innovations like this are helping to tackle waiting lists and speed up access to treatment, backed by record investment," he said.
But British Medical Association leader Dr Chaand Nagpaul is warning that attempts to address what he called a "once in a generation backlog of unimaginable proportions" would be undermined by a lack of staff and beds.
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Source: BBC News, 27 June 2022