Today marks an important milestone in our mission to bust the Covid backlogs as we virtually eliminate waits of more than two year for treatment, the first major target in our Elective Recovery Plan published in February.
This is down in part to the tireless work of our fantastic nursing workforce and I want to thank all of you for your efforts.
“Every patient on the list has a treatment plan in place and is being looked after by our clinicians”
As set out in our plan, a small number of patients remain on the list either because they were offered treatment at another hospital and they chose not to take up the offer or, as happened before the pandemic, because they require specialist complex care.
Every patient on the list has a treatment plan in place and is being looked after by our clinicians.
Thanks to the hard work of NHS staff including nurses, we have reduced the number of people waiting over two years for routine treatment by almost 90% since the peak in January and around 73,500 people waiting the longest have accessed vital treatment since the start of the year.
This is a significant feat and I am hugely grateful to all NHS staff who have worked tirelessly to treat tens of thousands of patients, day in day out under incredibly challenging circumstances.
To successfully reduce waiting times, we need to do things differently and more efficiently to increase capacity across elective and diagnostic services so all patients can access the care they need as quickly as possible.
As part of this, we have rolled out surgical hubs and up to 160 community diagnostic centres across the country – with more than 90 of each already open and one million and half extra checks and scans delivered.
I hugely value the dedication of all of our nurses and salute your resilience. As a practising nurse, I know how hard it has been and continues to be – especially as we head into a challenging winter.
We know there is more to do on recruitment and retention, but the government continues to grow the healthcare workforce, with over 4,300 more doctors and 10,200 more nurses working in the NHS compared to last year.
“I hugely value the dedication of all of our nurses and salute your resilience”
We are also on track to deliver on our commitment to recruit 50,000 more nurses by 2024 and we have commissioned NHS England to develop a long-term workforce plan to recruit and retain more talented staff while they deliver high-quality care and help bust the Covid backlogs.
Waiting lists will keep rising as more people continue to come forward for care following the pandemic, but with the help of staff across the country we are making significant progress, and I want to thank you all for everything you do for your patients.
Maria Caulfield, minister of state for health, Department for Health and Social Care
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