3.2m NHS Patients On Waiting List

More Than 3.2m People Are Waiting For Treatment On The NHS, Reports Say


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
Over three million people are waiting for treatment on the NHS, according to new reports.

The statistics, which were unearthed by the Press Association, showed that 93.8 per cent of all patients using the service had to endure waits as long as 18 weeks.

According to the King's Fund think tank, the figures are evidence of "cracks beginning to appear" in the NHS, which it argues are caused by financial pressures brought on by the government's austerity policies.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health confirmed it knew that waiting times were unacceptable in some areas, but pledged action by promising an extra 100,000 operations across all hospitals in the UK this summer.

"By prioritising those who have waited the longest, the NHS is likely to miss the target for a while, but we expect it to get back on track later in the year," the representative added.

However, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham used the statistics to criticise David Cameron of failing to keep his pledge to reduce waiting times.

"Under his government, there are more people on NHS waiting lists and those patients are waiting longer for treatment," he said.

Earlier this week, health minister Jeremy Hunt ordered NHS England executives to look into each case where a patient has waited longer than a year for treatment.

Although there are only 521 people that have faced delays this long, Mr Hunt wants the NHS to audit each of their cases and understand why they have been failed by the health service.

Additionally, Mr Hunt has announced a £250 million drive to eliminate all waits approaching 12 months to ensure that anyone who is living in pain or discomfort never faces a lengthy delay for treatment.

Last month, the Commonwealth Fund ranked the NHS as the best healthcare system in the world, but critics worry that budget cuts could put patient safety at risk.

Expert Opinion
The figures from these reports, which suggest the NHS waiting list for treatment contains the names of 3.2 million people, are very troubling. Patient care should always be a top priority, which means ensuring people receive the treatment they require quickly to improve their chances of recovery and rehabilitation. It is positive that the Department of Health is taking action to increase the number of operations carried out in hospitals across the UK.

"However, it is vital that these additional operations do not have a negative impact on those already scheduled by putting additional pressure on medical staff, as this is when errors can happen. In our work we have seen numerous cases where patients have suffered serious injuries and even died as a result of mistakes made during operations."
Mandy Luckman, Partner