NHS Patients Waiting More Than One Year for Non-Coronavirus Treatment Highest Since 2008

National Health Service patients in England waiting more than one year for non-coronavirus treatment is at its highest since 2008, with an NHS report admitting it was likely a result of the UK’s response to the pandemic.

Figures released on Thursday revealed that in September the number of people waiting more than 52 weeks for the start of treatment was 139,545 — compared to 1,305 the same month last year.

The data, seen by Sky News, also showed that hospitals in England missed several cancer targets. The number of people admitted to English NHS hospitals for routine treatment — unrelated to COVID-19 — was also down by more than one-quarter (27 per cent) on September 2019.

The report said: “The number of attendances reported are significantly lower than the same month last year and are likely to be a result of the COVID-19 response.”

The figures were released after other reports from medical professionals have revealed the true cost of lockdown and of the NHS prioritising preparation for mass COVID casualties over continuing essential care.

This week, the Royal College of Psychiatrists reported that the number of people feeling suicidal had tripled under lockdown. The London Ambulance Service revealed in late October that callouts for suicides and attempted suicides had nearly doubled.

The Health Services Journal revealed last week that stillbirths had nearly doubled in England between April and June, prompting the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) to launch an investigation into the “unintended consequences” of lockdown.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists suggested that the rise could have been as a result of women in later stages of pregnancy with concerns putting off going to the hospital over fear of catching the Chinese virus or of overburdening the health service — reminiscent of a report by healthcare analyst firm Dr Foster in October that the message to the public to “protect the NHS” could result in an increase in missed diagnoses and excess deaths.

Dr Foster also reported admissions had fallen for prostate cancer (by 64 per cent), bowel cancer (by 39 per cent), cervical cancer (by 32 per cent), and breast cancer (by 30 per cent). There was also a huge fall in hospital attendance for heart attacks (by 27 per cent), cardiac failure (by 38 per cent), and lung cancer (by 43 per cent).

Other reports revealed the wide-ranging impact on the taxpayer-funded health system, including that some 50,000 children’s surgeries had been cancelled, and the number of people dying while waiting on the organ transplant list had nearly doubled.

Reform UK party leader Nigel Farage has warned on Monday: “When you add up the total health cost of stopping surgery, stopping diagnosis, clearing out the National Health Service in case a huge wave of [coronavirus] infections come, you see that the cure is indeed worse than the disease itself.”

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