Highest ever number of NHS England patients waiting for routine hospital treatment
Patients in every town and city are forced to endure lengthening waits for treatment, often in debilitating pain, and NHS clinicians are working flat out to try to cope with demand. Waiting list statistics reveal a health service in crisis, struggling without adequate resources and staff. It is clear that, in addition to the pressures brought about by the Covid pandemic, we are now also paying the price for the ongoing cuts and closures, and the failure to support the NHS and staff over past years.
In addition to this unacceptable wait for treatment, the long NHS waiting times are pushing increasing numbers of people into paying for private treatment. There were 69,000 self-funded treatments in the UK in the final three months of 2021 – a 39% rise on the same period before the pandemic – a sign of how desperate people had become.
The BBC has seen evidence of people taking out loans and resorting to crowdfunding to pay for private treatment. The figures from the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) do not include those who have private insurance – instead they are the people paying the full cost of treatment themselves, leaving them liable for huge bills. The numbers paying for care topped 250,000 last year.
Patient groups warned there was a risk of a two-tier system being created, with the poorest losing out because they were the least likely to be able to afford to pay for treatment.
The above graphs and text is at BBC News (22nd July 2022) NHS waits force patients to pay for private ops
ACTION: Sign the “”We Own It” petition
Over 5 million patients in England alone are waiting for treatment right this second. We don’t want this crisis to push people to go private, and create a two tier system like the US.
The government has been underfunding our NHS for 10 years. And now, instead of investing in our NHS, it is propping up the private sector by paying them £10 billion (£200 million in shareholder profits) to run private hospitals using NHS staff to treat NHS waiting list patients.(1) This is not a solution. NHS staff should be working in NHS hospitals.
We are calling for the government to commit to new funding for our NHS in its autumn budget update. That means:
– Funding of at least £10 billion revenue a year to cover ongoing Covid costs and care backlogs (2)
– Funding of at least £10 billion capital this year to urgently maintain and upgrade hospitals and vital equipment like ambulances and scanners (3)
– Funding for the extra 90,000 NHS staff that are needed – increasing the number of doctors, nurses and healthcare staff through training and encouraging staff to stay with better pay, terms and conditions (4)
– Funding for hospital beds – reopen the 22,000 beds closed since 2010 (5)
– Funding for A&Es – reopen the 100+ A&Es closed since 2010 (6)
– No more selling off hospital land, no more outsourcing NHS staff
– Funding and a plan for social care so that people are cared for when they leave hospital
The public’s top priority for the NHS is improving waiting times.(7) Instead of wasting time, energy and money privatising and reorganising the NHS, the government should urgently give it the funding it needs.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak promised to give the NHS “whatever it needs, whatever it costs”. We urge him to deliver on that promise.
To sign the “We Own It” petition
Recent Ipsos MORI poll
“These results show yet again the pride that the public has in the NHS, no doubt bolstered by its work during the pandemic. However, the data also shows the challenges that lie ahead for the NHS in terms of public expectations, at a time when the service is facing a backlog of elective surgery cases, increased demand for mental health services, and the ongoing impact of caring for patients affected by COVID-19.”
Anna Quigley, Head of Health and Social Care at Ipsos MORI, 13th April 2021
The Guardian (3rd April 2023) Thousands of children in England facing ‘unacceptable’ NHS delays
The Guardian (21st March 2023) Hundreds left with lost or damaged eyesight after NHS delays – research
The Guardian (8th February 2023) NHS waiting lists in England unlikely to fall in 2023, research suggests
The Guardian (17th November 2022) Plan to cut NHS England elective care backlog at serious risk, watchdog says
The Guardian (11th September 2022) Millions of UK patients forced to go private amid record NHS waiting lists
The Lowdown (12th August 2022) Grim facts behind A&E delays
Health Service Journal (28th July 2022) Dozens of patients wait more than two days in A&E, reveals trust
BBC News (22nd July 2022) NHS waits force patients to pay for private ops
The Guardian (20th April 2022) NHS waiting lists drive more Britons to pay for medical treatment
The Guardian (16th March 2022) Surgery and cancer care in England will have long delays for years – report
Sky News (9th February 2022) NHS Elective Recovery Plan: Government unveils proposal to tackle record NHS waiting lists in England
The Guardian (23rd January 2022) Waiting lists must not be a pretext for privatising the NHS
The Guardian (22nd January 2022) The Guardian view on NHS privatisation: the wrong treatment
The Guardian (20th January 2022) Ministers and NHS bosses clash over surgery waiting list targets in England
Jacobin (16th January 2022) The Private Sector Will Destroy the NHS, Not Save It
The Guardian (9th December 2021) Almost 6 million people on waiting lists for hospital treatment in England
The Guardian (12th November 2021) GPs dispute Javid’s claim lack of appointments is overloading A&Es
The Lowdown (20th October 2021) Invest in publicly run services to secure health and social care
The Lowdown (18th October 2021) Care worker shortage will increase NHS waiting lists
The Mirror (14th October 2021) NHS treatment backlog hits record 5.7m with 10,000 waiting more than two years
National KONP (11th October 2021) Who is to blame for the NHS crisis? Anyone but the government apparently.
The Guardian (10th October 2021) ‘People are being very angry with us’: A&E doctor on abuse of NHS staff
The Guardian (10th October 2021) NHS staff face rising tide of abuse from patients provoked by long waits
The Lowdown (4th October 2021) Thousands ‘go private’, many more forced to wait
The Lowdown (2nd October 2021) Patients in poorer areas wait longer for treatment
BBC (27th September 2021) NHS waits: More people feeling forced into private healthcare
The Guardian (27th September 2021) NHS backlog disproportionately affecting England’s most deprived
The Guardian (27th September 2021) Hospitals in England relax Covid rules to help tackle waiting lists
The Lowdown (20th September 2021) Waiting times for surgery leads to increase in opioid use for pain relief
The Guardian (18th September 2021) Private hospitals profit from NHS waiting lists as people without insurance pay out
The Guardian (18th September 2021) ‘I couldn’t wait’: Britons without health insurance on why they paid to go private
The Mirror (3rd September 2021) Waits for routine NHS tests for deadly diseases surge during Covid pandemic
The Guardian (1st September 2021) Huge discrepancy in NHS England waiting times for common procedures
Independent (17th August 2021) NHS prepares to spend up to £10 billion on private hospital treatments
The Guardian (12th August 2021) Record number of NHS England patients waiting for routine hospital treatment
The Guardian (11th August 2021) Almost 1.2m people waiting at least six months for vital NHS services in England
inews (8th August 2021) Private hospital groups set to profit from massive NHS backlog in wave of new deals
BBC News (11th July 2021) Covid: NHS backlog in England could reach 13 million, says Sajid Javid
Ipsos/MORI (13th April 2021) Public satisfaction with the NHS is high, but waiting times are the public’s priority