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Thousands of children in England facing ‘unacceptable’ NHS delays

Thousands of children experiencing “unacceptable” long waits for NHS treatment face a “lifelong” impact on their health, a senior doctor has warned, as shocking figures reveal that nearly 15,000 paediatric operations were cancelled over the last year.

Dr Camilla Kingdon, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said the mounting treatment backlog in England risked “serious” and “devastating” physical and mental consequences for children and their families.

She sounded the alarm as data obtained under freedom of information laws by the Liberal Democrats showed that a record high 14,628 children’s operations were postponed in 2022, up from 11,870 the year before and the highest in five years of data examined. Some children have now waited several years for surgery, according to the data.

Delaying a child’s operation risks having a “lifelong impact” on their development, Kingdon said, and also “seriously impact” their mental health, with knock-on effects on their ability to socialise, go to school and reach their full potential.

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Source: The Guardian, 3 April 2023


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