The NHS has issued a warning that waiting lists might exceed 13 million people.
One of Britain’s most respected think tanks has cautioned that the NHS must treat even more patients than it did before the epidemic to prevent the number of people on waiting lists in England from reaching 13 million and beyond.
Last month, Health Secretary Sajid Javid made headlines when he claimed that officials had advised him that waiting lists may reach 13 million people.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies today issued a warning that the amount is “clearly beyond the bounds of possibility” and details how the situation has deteriorated during the shutdown.
The BMA has warned that the NHS workforce is “exhausted and depleted,” according to the report. There are also “record levels of weariness,” according to the Royal College of Nursing.
According to the IFS, the number of patients waiting for treatment could be significantly higher than previously thought. The final conclusion will be determined by the NHS’s ability to “increase its capacity and serve more patients than it did before to the pandemic,” according to the report.
Dealing with the millions of people who have been denied care and are now expected to come forward is a major task. The IFS is concerned that the NHS is “possibly hampered” by infection control procedures and the necessity to treat a large number of Covid-19 patients.
“The number of people on the waiting list has increased by around 900,000 since the start of the pandemic and now stands at 5.3 million – the highest level since the current definition was introduced in 2007, and more than twice the figure of 2.3 million in January 2009, when the waiting list was at its shortest,” the think tank claims. According to the research, just about 1,600 people had been waiting for 12 months or more in February of last year; by May of this year, the total had risen to 436,000.
Between March 2020 and May 2021, seven million fewer persons joined the waiting lists than would have been expected in normal times. How many of these “lost” individuals will now come forward for treatment is a huge question.
According to the IFS, if only two-thirds of the missing patients return, waiting lists will “easily approach 13 million” and “continue to increase.”
Max Warner, one of the book’s authors. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”