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RCS England responds to DHSC announcement on more choice for NHS patients to cut waiting times

25 May 2023

Responding to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announcement today that NHS patients will be offered a choice of where they go for treatment, Professor Neil Mortensen, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said:

“This move by the NHS to give patients a choice of up to five healthcare providers in the same region, when clinically appropriate, should speed up access to operations and help to tackle the backlog. The campaign should encourage and make it easier for more patients to exercise their long-established right to choose where they receive their care.

“However, the need to increase surgical capacity within the NHS remains. We support the use of the independent sector in the short term to help tackle the backlog, but it cannot be a permanent fix. We need more operating theatres, as well as nursing and anaesthetic staff to support surgeons. NHS Trusts must also ensure that training opportunities are still provided for surgical trainees when operations move to the independent sector.

“In addition to the convenience afforded by the NHS app and website in reducing waiting times, we would like to see surgical hubs established in every area of the country, allowing patients access to operations sooner in their own areas.”


Notes to editors:

  1. The Royal College of Surgeons of England provides world-class education, assessment and development to 30,000 surgeons, dental professionals and members of the wider surgical and dental care teams, at all stages of their career. Our vision is to see excellent surgical care for everyone. We do this by setting professional standards, facilitating research and championing the best outcomes for patients.
  2. For more information, please contact the Press Office: Telephone: 020 7869 6053/6054/6047; Email:; Out-of-hours media enquiries: 0207 869 6056.

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