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Royal College of Surgeons of England welcomes Independent Age report

27 Sep 2021

The Royal College of Surgeons of England has today welcomed a report, by the charity Independent Age, which explores how lengthening waiting times for surgery are affecting people in later life. The report – Waiting Patiently – supports recommendations made by the College and submitted to Independent Age, including that:

  • The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) should fund surgical hubs in each Integrated Care System.  Surgical hubs separate planned surgery from emergency care, protecting surgery from winter pressures and outbreaks of COVID-19 or flu.
  • DHSC should be required to produce annual independent projections of healthcare workforce needs, and a new NHS workforce plan.

Commenting on the report, Professor Neil Mortensen, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said:

“Today’s report by Independent Age highlights the struggles and pain that older patients face while waiting for surgery. Operations like hip and knee replacements help people stay mobile, and support independent living. Delays to surgery can result in social isolation, particularly for those who live alone, which is a particular concern in light of how difficult the last 18 months have been for many older people.

“Improving access to surgery will take investment in surgical hubs and staff, to help make services more sustainable through the winter.  Surgical hubs can help keep elective surgery going through outbreaks of COVID-19 or flu.  So we are delighted to see Independent Age support the College’s recommendation that every region should create a surgical hub.

“Still, reducing the gigantic waiting list for surgery will take time, and as this report rightly identifies, communication is key.  Surgical teams and hospitals must keep in regular contact with patients and support them while they wait.”


Notes to editors

  1. Details of the College’s recommendations for surgery, shared with Independent Age are set out here: read here
  2. The press release by Independent Age and report can be read here: Majority of older people waiting for treatment in daily pain as delays to surgery continue | Independent Age
  3. 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.
  4. For more information, please contact the RCS Press Office:

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