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New national deadline to eliminate two-year waiters

NHS England has issued a new deadline to treat patients who have been waiting more than two years for treatment, a month after saying it had ‘virtually eliminated’ the longest waits, it has emerged.

The goal of no-one waiting more than 104 weeks for treatment by July this year was one of the first milestones in the elective recovery plan hammered out between NHSE and ministers.

They were not eliminated by the end of July, but the number was reduced to 3,000, having stood at 22,000 in January.

The remaining group consisted of nearly 1,600 patients who had been offered faster treatment elsewhere but did not want to travel, 1,000 who required complex treatment and could not be transferred to another provider and 168 who were not treated by the deadline, according to information issued in the summer by NHSE.

Now integrated care systems have been told there is a new “national expectation” to treat the remaining, final two-year waiters by the end of September. HSJ was told the goal has been framed as an ambition rather than a target because it includes patients who have chosen to wait longer.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 21 September 2022


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