NHS aims to reduce waiting times with Elective Recovery Plan

Tahsin Choudhury
NHS Building

Table of Contents

The NHS recently recorded their waiting list to be at 6.5 million, a record high. Much of this backlog is due to COVID-19 and staff prioritising treatment for over 700,000 patients unwell with the virus over those with planned procedures. The Government has put in plans to eliminate this with the NHS Elective Recovery Plan, focusing on patients who have been waiting 2 years in acute hospitals for surgery.

Over 6,000 patients still on this waiting list have been asked if they are prepared to travel to different parts of the country for their procedures, and over 400 patients have willingly accepted. As a result, Sajid Javid has reported that the number of patients waiting over 2 years for treatment had already reduced by two thirds. Patients have been reassured that a full clinical assessment will take place before any change of hospital, ensuring that they are matched with the best possible hospitals needed for their care. Patients will be offered the same level of care and service, and accommodation and travel costs will also be available where suitable.

However, even though many may be willing to relocate, they may have specialist care and needs which can only be treated at certain hospitals, putting a limit on how many patients can be treated elsewhere. Nevertheless, paired with weekend clinics and surgery hubs (some offering same-day hip replacements), the NHS hope to eliminate 2 year waits for elective surgery by July 2022, eliminate waits of longer than a year for elective care by March 2025, and eliminate waits of over 18 months by April 2023.

Whilst much of this backlog has been attributed to the pandemic, it has been argued that this only exacerbated existing issues that were there before COVID-19, and any efforts to restore the system will only be undermined by a lack of staff and beds in hospitals. The Plan recognises this and proposes to implement training and recruiting of new staff, as well as more options for current staff for flexible or remote work and opportunities to develop new skills and progress within the NHS.

Hopefully, this waiting list will drastically reduce as a result of NHS efforts and Government funding, and those needing treatment will receive it without unreasonable delay. Osbornes have represented many clients where delayed treatment was avoidable, and where the effects of such delayed treatment have been life changing.

If you’d like to speak to the medical negligence department about NHS complaints or another matter, contact Tahsin Choudhury or complete an online enquiry form. Our specialist lawyers can provide you with a free consultation to evaluate the circumstances of your claim.

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