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Connell C - LB Mar 2022

NHS faces backlog of 6.6m patients

NHS England and NHS Improvement statistics released today reveal that 6.6 million people are waiting for NHS treatment. Of those, 331,623 patients are waiting more than a year and 8,028 patients more than two years.

63.5% of patients waiting to start treatment are waiting up to 18 weeks, falling well short of the 92% standard.

Responding to the news David Hare, chief executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, said: “With NHS waiting lists at another record of 6.6 million it is clear that whoever becomes prime minister in September must make busting the NHS backlog one of their first priorities in office.

 “The backlog is now not only a health crisis but increasingly an economic one given that over half of all people waiting for NHS treatment are of working age.

“The independent sector is a vital tool in the NHS’s armoury to increase activity and drive down patient waiting times, however analysis continues to show that in the vast majority of specialties the NHS is currently using the independent sector less than pre-pandemic, despite patients waiting ever longer for treatment. 

“Bringing down waiting times is the public’s number-one priority for the NHS and we need urgent action to ensure 2022 does not become a lost year in which NHS waiting lists keep growing while independent sector capacity goes unused.”

David Hare, IHPN
David Hare, IHPN

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