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NHS strikes force thousands to wait 18 months for surgery as flagship target to be missed

Thousands of patients are being forced to wait more than 18 months for treatments such as knee and brain surgery as the health service is set to miss its flagship target because of NHS strikes.

NHS England last week claimed it was “on track” to hit the mandated target, but senior sources have warned that the impact of prolonged walkouts combined with unprecedented demand for emergency care means that this is now unlikely.

The sources say it is probable that up to 10,000 patients will still be waiting for 18 months or more by the end of March, as a knock-on effect of the cancellation of 140,000 appointments because of strike action. More walkouts are planned over the coming weeks.

Patricia Marquis, RCN director for England, said the backlog was “yet even more evidence of what happens when you fail to invest in the workforce. If ministers are serious about preventing a further exodus and cutting the backlog, they need to hear the calls of NHS leaders and come to the table and talk about pay. Only then will patients receive the care they need and waiting lists start to come down.”

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Source: The Independent, 15 February 2023


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