The longest NHS waiting list is almost eliminated

The longest NHS waiting list is almost eliminated
© iStock/SeventyFour

The longest NHS waiting list is virtually eliminated, a significant and exciting milestone in healthcare history.

In a new press release, the NHS has announced that the longest waits for scans, checks, surgical procedures, and other routine treatments have been significantly reduced. As part of the ambitious Elective Recovery Plan, healthcare staff set out to reduce the longest NHS waiting lists, which built up during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NHS Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard said: “Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff, the NHS has delivered the first milestone in our Elective Recovery Plan.

“It has only been possible because the NHS has continued to reform the way we deliver care, using innovative techniques and adopting pioneering technology like robot surgery, and through building new relationships and mutual aid arrangements across systems to offer patients the opportunity to be transferred elsewhere and get the care they need as quickly as possible.

“The next phase will focus on patients waiting longer than 18 months, building on the fantastic work already done, and while it is a significant challenge our remarkable staff have shown that when we are given the tools and resources we need, the NHS delivers for our patients.”

Tackling long NHS waiting lists

The Elective Recovery Plan, announced early in 2022, set out to tackle the longest NHS waiting lists.

The first step in the plan focused on treating patients waiting two years or more by the end of July 2022 unless they specified they will wait longer, did not want to travel to be seen faster, or for very complex cases requiring specialist treatment.

There were over 22,500 people waiting two years or more at the start of 2022, and a further 51,000 who would have surpassed two years by the end of July have also been treated.

These long NHS waiting lists have been tackled, despite the growing burden of COVID-19. NHS hospitals have treated over 220,000 patients with the virus since the recovery plan was published.

The hard work of the NHS workforce

The hard work of the NHS workforce means that the long NHS waitlist numbers have reduced to just 2,777, despite COVID-19 and other pressures. Within this figure, 1,579 opted to defer treatment and 1,030 are very complex cases.

Despite this, the NHS is working hard to tackle the remaining patients who have yet to receive treatment.

Danny Mortimer, Deputy Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “This is an important milestone for the NHS, whose teams have been working exceptionally hard to recover their services after the worst of the pandemic. They have been performing thousands of operations a week, leading to many hospitals being able to clear their longest waiting lists even before the July commitment.

“However, with the overall waiting list for elective care continuing to grow nationally, they know that this vital work has not finished. They will continue to do everything they can for their patients, in the face of profound challenges, and while also tackling other waiting lists around mental health, community and primary care which warrant equal attention.”


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