It has been reported that in March 2017, approximately 130,000 individuals were awaiting surgery following a Consultant referral. This number has almost tripled since March 2013 when it was reported that approximately 45,000 patients were on waiting lists.
Sadly, due to the massive increase in number of people awaiting surgery, patients can be left for six or more months waiting for their operation. This is unacceptable and very worrying when taking into consideration that these are patients who require medical assistance and are left uncomfortable and in pain for prolonged periods of time. It is worth noting that these long waiting times for surgery can impact upon patients’ quality of life greatly, particularly the elderly. It will also have an effect on how well patients recover from the operation.
Surgeons themselves are concerned that the number of patients waiting for operations for prolonged periods of time may increase further into the future.
It has been said in the press that due to increasing pressure on the health service, NHS England can no longer guarantee that patients will be treated within the 18-week target time. This particularly relates to knee and hip replacements.
Surgeons from the Royal College of Surgery report that more people requiring treatment to ears, nose and throat, brain and spinal and general surgery are now left for 6 to 9 months (and sometimes even longer than 9 months) for their surgery. The situation is even worse when it comes to dermatology and gynaecology.
NHS England reports that it has managed to successfully cut down the number of patients waiting for appropriate care and treatment for a year or more by nearly 13,000 during the past 5 years.
Clare Marx, president of the Royal Collage Surgeons has said that one of the reasons for patients being forced to wait longer for surgery is shortage of bed in the NHS.
“When pressures in Emergency Departments rise, patients waiting planned surgery can have their operations cancelled or delayed until more space becomes available.”
The medical professionals has urged the Government to re-consider the way the NHS is funded at the moment.
Melanie Lidstone-Land, Lawyer and Head of the Medical Negligence department at Swain & Co solicitors says :- “This is an ongoing problem. It has not been properly addressed by the last government and I cannot see how it is going to be solved by the next one. The NHS simply do not have the resources or the staff to make the system work and the real victims of that are the patients.”
The Clinical Negligence team at Swain & Co Solicitors regularly win compensation for their clients who have experienced substandard treatment or a failure to provide treatment. If you, a family member or a friend have experienced problems regarding substandard medical treatment contact our team today on 0292 483 322.