A recent study carried out by the Royal College of Surgeons shows that the number of patients waiting six months or more for surgery has tripled over the past four years in England. According to the study, the number of people waiting six months for an operation rose to 126,200 in March from 45,000 in March 2013.
The study found that surgical disciplines with the biggest increase in waiting times in the last four years are:
1. Ear, nose and throat (256% increase)
2. Urology (199% increase)
3. General surgery (146% increase)
4. Oral surgery (146% increase)
5. Brain and spinal surgery (145% increase).
The study also found that the number of patients waiting more than nine months for surgery rose 209% in the same four year period, from 6,400 patients in March 2013 to 19,800 patients in March 2017.
Clare Marx, president of the Royal College of Surgeons stated “we are now struggling to meet the standards and timeliness of care that the public rightly expect. It is unacceptable for such a large number of patients to be waiting over half a year in pain and discomfort for treatment.”
Earlier this year, NHS England CEO Simon Stevens announced that growing pressures in the health service meant that the 18-week target time for knee and hip replacements had to be deprioritised, therefore it could no longer be guaranteed that patients would receive treatment within the 18 week target time.
The Patients Association has been conducting annual reports since 2010 into the number of patients waiting longer than the 18-week referral to treatment target for elective surgery. The latest annual report, which is based on 2015 data obtained from Freedom of Information requests sent to Trusts in England, shows that the total number of patients waiting over 18 weeks for surgery in 2015 was 92,739, compared to 51,388 patients waiting over 18 weeks in 2014. In addition, 77% of Trusts are failing to notify patients of their rights under the NHS Constitution when the 18 week limit has been breached.
The Royal College of Surgeons is concerned that due to increasing waiting times, thousands of people are suffering in prolonged pain and discomfort without access to timely treatment, which can impact on the quality of a person’s life and their recovery post-surgery, particularly in older patients.
Moosa-Duke Solicitors has a wealth of experience in representing individuals who have suffered as a result of delays in receiving treatment. If you have concerns regarding the care or treatment you have received please contact us on 0116 254 7456 for a no obligation conversation.