Frimley Health: more than 40,000 patients awaiting routine treatment
More than 40,000 patients were on the NHS waiting list for routine treatment at the Frimley Health Trust in March, according to figures.
The Royal College of Surgeons has called the size of the country’s waiting list a “stomach churn”, adding that it will take many years to cope with the backlog.
NHS statistics show 43,387 patients were listed as awaiting elective operations or treatment at the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust at the end of March, up from 41,191 at the end of February.
It was also up from 35,969 the previous year.
Across England, the number of people awaiting hospital treatment rose to 4.95 million – the highest total since records began in August 2007.
The Royal College of Surgeons said the task ahead for NHS workers was vast after an “incredibly difficult year”.
Vice President Tim Mitchell said: “With the number of Covid-19 patients hospitalized at their lowest since September of last year, recovery from planned surgery is thankfully now well underway.
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“Yet any prospect of reducing the waiting list, which now numbers 5 million people, is premature, as new patients come in every day.
“The task at hand is vast and many of the staff who help the surgeons in the operation, anesthetists and nurses are operating on steam after an incredibly difficult year helping in the Covid-19 wards.”
NHS rules state that patients referred for elective treatment under the care of a consultant must start treatment within 18 weeks.
But the figures also show that 1,843 patients on the Frimley Health Trust’s waiting lists at the end of March were waiting at least a year – four percent of all on the waiting list.
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The number of people waiting this long in England rose to 436,100, from 387,900 the previous month and a record for all calendar months since August 2007.
The figures were released on the same day the NHS announced it would spend £ 160million on an initiative to find new ways to tackle the vast backlog of care.
The money will be given to hospitals for mobile scanning trucks, to perform evening and weekend surgery and to provide “virtual services” where patients can be continuously monitored outside the hospital. .
Amanda Pritchard, NHS COO, said: “The additional support announced today will help us create a plan to continue this progress through the summer and beyond, in a way that does not result in additional pressure on staff, so that as many people as possible benefit from the world-class care provided by the NHS. ”
The investment has been welcomed by the NHS Confederation, which represents health service organizations.
But Danny Mortimer, the organization’s chief executive, said there were “bigger and bolder” measures the government needed, like providing more capital funding to NHS trusts to help meet the request.