Number of people waiting longer than two years for routine operations drops

The pandemic forced people needing routine operations to wait up to 18 months for treatment.

09 August 2022

England’s backlog of people waiting long times for routine operations has shrunk from 22,500 at the start of the year to fewer than 200.

The NHS figures which have been seen by the BBC exclude more than 2,500 who are complex cases or chose not to travel for speedier treatment.

NHS England told the broadcaster it had achieved the first milestone in its plan to eliminate backlogs caused by Covid, however a record 6.6 million people are still waiting for hospital treatment.

File photo dated 20/10/20 of staff on a hospital ward
The backlog has shrunk from 22,500 at the start of the year to fewer than 200 (Peter Byrne/PA)

The pandemic caused treatment wait times to soar as operations were cancelled to deal with those suffering from Covid.

In an attempt to reduce the backlog, patients have been offered travel and accommodation costs to be treated in alternative parts of the country.

The BBC reports most of those in the backlog have been waiting up to 18 weeks for routine operations, including knee and hip replacements, and eye surgery, with about 300,000 on a waiting list for more than a year.

The Government’s next agenda is to eliminate 18-month waits by April 2023.

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