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RCS response to CCGs considering minimum waits for non-urgent surgery

17 Nov 2017

The HSJ has reported CCGs, including Trafford and several across Lincolnshire, are considering introducing minimum waiting times for non-urgent surgery. The HSJ is reporting that NHS England refused to condemn the policy. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG enforced a similar policy earlier this year, but was forced to reverse this following pressure from patient groups and clinicians, including the Royal College of Surgeons. 

Responding to the news, Miss Sue Hill, Vice President of the Royal College of Surgeons, said:

“We strongly urge all these CCGs to reconsider this decision. Patients in Trafford currently wait an average of 7.2 weeks for any type of treatment; if this policy were to go ahead, average patient waiting times in Trafford would double and it is difficult to see how targets could be achieved.

“The RCS appreciates the severe financial pressures facing some CCGs, but introducing an arbitrary minimum waiting time for surgery is unlikely to save money in the long term and is ethically wrong. Delaying surgery can mean a patient’s condition worsens, and can make surgery more difficult and less successful.

“Under the coalition government minimum waiting times were banned and we urge the present government to reinstate that policy and not force patients to wait a minimum of three months for routine surgery.” 

Notes to editors

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.

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