The number of people waiting for elective treatment on the NHS has risen by 4.6% in just one year. Today, 4.4 million individuals are currently waiting for elective treatment, which is a procedure or surgery that is chosen by the patient or physician because it is advantageous to the former, but not necessarily urgent.
Of these patients, one in seven have been waiting longer than 18 weeks.
At the end of July 2018, 87.8% of patients had been waiting less than 18 weeks for elective treatment. This meant, at that time, the NHS was failing to meet its 92% target. Now, 85.8% have been waiting less than 18 weeks, highlighting how things are actually getting worse.
Furthermore, at the end of July 2018, 91.9% of patients who were referred to a specialist were seen by one within two weeks. Fast forward to today and that figure has dropped to 90.9%. The NHS target is 93%.
Professor John Appleby, chief economist at the Nuffield Trust, said the figures highlight how the NHS has witnessed an alarming slump in performance against its targets.
“People mustn’t get distracted by incoming new targets from the fact that NHS performance this year has seen a sharp decline,” he said. “Changing measurements won’t make a difference if things keep on worsening at this rate.”
Longer waits harm patients
Longer NHS waiting times obviously aren’t ideal for patients, even for elective treatment. Depression, anxiety, stress and sleepless nights are just some of the ways long waits can affect patients and their families. In fact, a report published in June 2019 warned that NHS waiting times were harming patients.
The report by the Public Accounts Committee said that NHS bodies “lack curiosity” and understand little about how extended waits can harm patients.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, with some NHS trusts staging remarkable turnarounds in performance. Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, the NHS Trust (MTW) that runs Tunbridge Wells Hospital, for example, has just hit the national target for cancer waiting times for the first time in nearly five years.
In fact, MTW was ranked 131 out of 131 NHS trusts earlier this year. Now, the trust has hit the national target and pulled itself into the top 30% of trusts nationwide. Most remarkable of all is that MTW achieved this while seeing cancer referrals increase by nearly a third over the last two years.
Private Medical Insurance
Private Medical Insurance is not just a great alternative to the NHS, but is also complementary to the services it provides. It helps reduce the burden on waiting lists and provides greater choice of when, where and by whom you are treated. Why not let us help you explore these options further?
Can you afford to wait for treatment and the potential consequences of how this may impact on your health and working schedules?
I joined Premier Choice Group as an SME/Corporate Consultant in 2017 and look after the Healthcare & Protection needs of a nationwide portfolio. I began my career in Healthcare and Protection in 1985 with BUPA, before moving on to Royal & Sun Alliance. In 2002, I became an Intermediary and worked with Private Clients, SME’s and Corporate clients on a local, national and international basis.