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RCS England comments on new report on NHS backlogs and waiting times in England

16 Mar 2022

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has today published a report on ‘NHS backlogs and waiting times in England’. Commenting on this, Professor Neil Mortensen, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said:

“We welcomed the opportunity to contribute to this important report.  As highlighted by the Committee, a significant waiting list existed before the pandemic. Despite the best efforts of staff, the NHS in England has not met the statutory 18-week waiting time target for planned hospital treatment since February 2016.  The pandemic exacerbated this situation.  Long waits can be devastating for patients. So we must get back to providing timely surgery and to meeting the waiting times standards.

“The Committee is right to point out that geographical disparities exist around the country in waiting times for cancer and elective treatment. We have been calling for the creation of at least one surgical hub – where elective surgery can take place – in every region of the country, to improve equality of access to planned surgery.

“We also agree that the NHS will be less able to clear the backlogs if it does not address longstanding workforce issues and ensure the existing workforce is well supported.  We need a workforce plan, to deliver solutions to staff vacancies and improved workforce planning.  We think the best way to do this is for the government to accept the workforce amendment to the Health and Care Bill. It is backed by 100 medical organisations and the House of Lords.”

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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