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"Fix the roof now, as the winter will only be worse"

11 Aug 2022

Responding to today’s figures which show an increase in the hospital waiting list to a new record high, The Royal College of Surgeons of England called on Ministers to make funding promised for surgical hubs available immediately.

NHS England’s monthly Referral to Treatment (RTT) statistics report that the NHS waiting list for planned hospital treatment rose again to a record high of 6.73 million  in June 2022.1

Good progress has been made tackling the longest waits of two years or more2. However, more than 50,000 people (53,911) were still waiting 18 months (78 weeks) or more for consultant-led hospital treatment in June 2022.

The next NHS target is to eliminate waits of over 18 months (78 weeks), by April 2023.  The Midlands, North West and South West have disproportionately high numbers of people waiting 18 months or more.

Surgeons have called for urgent allocation of the £1.5billion funding promised last autumn4 to establish surgical hubs in areas that are struggling to recover.

Miss Fiona Myint, Vice President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said:

“While the huge efforts of surgical teams have dramatically brought down the very long waits for surgery that we saw in the wake of the pandemic, we still have a mountain to climb.  The government needs to fix the roof now, as the winter will only be worse.  That means funding surgical hubs in areas that are struggling to bring down long waits for operations, and careful workforce planning. 

“Prolonged waits for surgery risk further deterioration in patients’ conditions, which can mean more complex surgery being required later.  For example, some patients waiting for gallbladder surgery have recurrent inflammatory episodes. This makes surgery trickier because everything becomes scarred inside. Patients left in limbo are often unable to work or enjoy a decent quality of life. That’s why it is vital trusts can use the elective recovery funding to establish surgical hubs before winter sets in.” 


Notes to editors


1. NHS performance statistics published today are available here:

2. NHS marks milestone in recovery plan as longest waits virtually eliminated

3. B1881_Next-steps-in-the-recovery-of-elective-services_July-2022.pdf (

4.The NHS Elective Recovery Plan confirms commitments made in the autumn of 2021 of £1.5 billion capital funding to, “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: Out-of-hours media enquiries: 0207 869 6056.

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