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Surgeons urge Coffey to add Elective Recovery and Funding to her list of priorities

08 Sep 2022

NHS waiting list rises to a record 6.84 million

The Royal College of Surgeons of England today called for the new health secretary Thérèse Coffey to add Elective Recovery and Funding to her ‘ABCD’ mantra, as NHS statistics reported a record waiting list for planned hospital treatment.1

Surgeons welcomed Ms Coffey’s promise ‘to deliver for patients’ but stressed this would depend on continuing to fund the elective recovery.

NHS England’s monthly Referral to Treatment (RTT) statistics published today report that the NHS waiting list for planned hospital treatment rose to 6.84 million in July 2022, the highest since records began.2

The statistics show that significant progress has been made tackling the longest waits, of two years or more. However, more than 51,838 patients are still waiting 18 months (78 weeks) or more for consultant-led hospital treatment. The government’s Elective Recovery Plan has a target to eliminate NHS waits of over 18 months (78 weeks), by April 2023.

Mr Tim Mitchell, Vice President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said:

“I hope Ms Coffey will add an E and F to her alphabet list of priorities.  E for Elective Recovery and F for Funding.  Without this, the backlog that she wants to tackle will continue to grow.

“Surgeons have made significant progress reducing very long waits for hospital treatment. The number of people waiting two years or more dropped from 23,778 in January to 2,885 in July.  This was down to the commitment and hard work of NHS surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses, supported by additional elective recovery funding.

“We cannot afford to let this progress slip, or the elective recovery could be derailed at a vital juncture.  Funding new surgical hubs and investment in staff will be key to the elective recovery in the months ahead."


Notes to editors

1. Outlining her ‘ABCD’ mantra, the new health secretary Thérèse Coffey pledged to focus on ‘ambulances, backlogs, care, doctors and dentists’: Therese Coffey lays out plans as she is named new health secretary and deputy PM | Politics News | Sky News

2. NHS performance statistics published today are available here:


4. The NHS Elective Recovery Plan confirms commitments made in the autumn of 2021 of £1.5 billion capital funding, “to include new surgical hubs, increased bed capacity and equipment to help elective services recover, including surgeries and other medical procedures.”

5. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.

6. For more information, please contact the Press Office: Telephone: 020 7869 6052/6055 Email: For out-of-hours media enquiries, telephone: 0207 869 6056.


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