'Hidden' NHS appointments waiting list exceeds 11MILLION - and it has soared 50% since Covid

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More than 11million group successful request of follow-up infirmary attraction are now languishing connected 'hidden' NHS waiting lists, a study suggests.

Experts pass these patients — adjacent to 1 successful 5 of nan population — consequence being neglected and coming to harm arsenic wellness leaders prioritise higher floor plan cases.

The NHS publishes header figures each period showing really galore group are waiting to commencement treatment, pinch number astatine a grounds precocious of 7.75million.

Rishi Sunak has made tackling this backlog 1 of his 5 priorities arsenic Prime Minister but nan tally excludes those who person had a process specified arsenic a hep cognition aliases cataract removal and require captious check-ups.

New study by nan Reform deliberation tank, based connected Freedom of Information disclosures, indicates location are 11.36million patients waiting for follow-up appointments.

The deliberation vessel recovered that nan follow-up waitlist has grown importantly since nan pandemic. It estimates that much than 11million patients are waiting for ongoing attraction – astir 3.5 cardinal much group than nan elective backlog

England's ever-growing backlog deed 7.75million successful August — nan balanced of 1 successful 7 people. This includes astir 400,000 stuck successful nan strategy for complete a year, often successful pain

It intends nan 'hidden' waiting database has 3.6million much patients than nan elective waiting list, pinch a mixed full of 19.1million.

Each requires nan attraction of overstretched NHS staff, who could beryllium utilized to dainty caller patients aliases follow-up pinch existing ones.

Failing to transportation retired capable monitoring of semipermanent conditions aliases crab patients, negociate medicines, and cheque patients aft room provides important objective risks.

What do nan latest NHS capacity figures show?

The wide waiting database grew by much than 65,000 to 7.75million successful August. This is up from 7.68million successful July. 

There were 265 group waiting much than 2 years to commencement curen astatine nan extremity of August, down from 277 successful July. 

The number of group waiting much than a year to commencement infirmary curen was 396,643, up from 389,952 nan erstwhile month.

Some 33,107 group had to wait much than 12 hours in A&E departments successful England successful September. The fig is up from 28,859 successful August.

A full of 125,829 group waited astatine slightest 4 hours from nan determination to admit to admittance successful September, up from 120,120 successful August.

Just 71.6 per cent of patients were seen wrong 4 hours at A&Es past month. NHS standards group retired that 95 per cent should beryllium admitted, transferred aliases discharged wrong nan four-hour window.

In September, nan mean category 1 consequence time – calls from group pinch life-threatening illnesses aliases injuries – was 8 minutes and 31 seconds. The target clip is 7 minutes.

Ambulances took an mean of 37 minutes and 38 seconds to respond to category 2 calls, specified arsenic burns, epilepsy and strokes. This is astir doubly arsenic agelong arsenic nan 18 infinitesimal target.

Response times for category 3 calls – specified arsenic precocious stages of labour, non-severe burns and glucosuria – averaged 2 hours, 15 minutes and 59 seconds. Nine successful 10 ambulances are expected to get to these calls wrong 2 hours.

The number of group waiting for follow-up attraction has accrued by 50 per cent betwixt May 2019, pre-pandemic, and May this year.

Each spot has an mean of 100,00 group connected their 'hidden' database but 1 has complete half a million.

Almost half of trust — 47 per cent — grounded to supply information connected their follow-up waiting lists.

Some 62 trusts provided data, 17 did not respond to nan FOI petition contempt a ineligible work to do so, and 39 claimed not to clasp nan information.

Sebastian Rees, elder investigation and study co-author astatine Reform, said: 'The wellness and information of patients is being threatened by these hidden waitlists.

'The nonaccomplishment to supply timely travel up appointments risks failing to observe nan recurrence of crab aliases complications post-surgery, and group becoming abnormal arsenic nan consequence of a deteriorating condition.

'It is profoundly concerning that truthful galore trusts could not moreover show america really galore group are connected their travel up waitlists, showing a deficiency of prioritisation aliases grasp of nan problem.

'NHS England must require each trusts to study this information and clasp hospitals accountable for talking this hidden backlog.'

The minimum and maximum waitlists successful 2023 alteration drastically.

While East Kent Hospitals has double nan outpatient referrals of Nottingham University Hospitals, suggesting it is simply a bigger acute trust, their follow-up backlog is 513 times that of Nottingham — 516,919 versus 1,008.

This suggests that immoderate patients are receiving an unacceptably mediocre attraction offer, based either connected nan determination by their spot to deprioritise follow-up appointments aliases owed to inadequate follow-up waitlist management.

Ophthalmology has nan highest number of waiters, pinch a 28.5 per cent summation betwixt 2019 and 2023, nan information suggests.

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists has antecedently warned that imperishable harm from avoidable show nonaccomplishment is 9 times much apt successful follow-up patients than successful caller patients.

Rachel Power, main executive of nan Patients Association, described nan study arsenic 'alarming'.

According to nan NHS Constitution, astatine slightest 92 per cent of patients should person elective curen wrong 18 weeks of first referral (pink line). September 2015 was nan past clip this modular was met. NHS information for July shows less than six successful 10 patients were seen wrong this timeframe

The chart shows nan apical 10 curen areas that person nan largest follow-up backlog successful 2023. Most patients are waiting for a check-up ophthalmology, cardiology aliases orthopaedic appointment

She added: 'We interest that agelong waits could lead to patients' wellness declining possibly to nan constituent wherever curen is ineffective.

'We impulse nan NHS to beryllium transparent astir nan number of patients waiting for care.'

Saffron Cordery, lawman main executive of NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts, said: 'No spot leader wants patients — their number 1 priority — to beryllium kept waiting for nan attraction they need.

'It's important to statement that while nan waiting database for follow-up appointments is concerning, galore group connected that database do not require urgent curen aliases care.

'Trusts are moving incredibly difficult to spot patients arsenic quickly arsenic possible.'

Rory Deighton, head of nan Acute Network astatine NHS Confederation, which represents healthcare organisations, said: 'Health leaders and their teams are straining each sinew to get nan NHS backmost connected its feet and waiting lists down successful nan look of superior challenges, but pinch business action continuing to inhibit betterment efforts, request much thief to do so.'

An NHS spokesperson said: 'These types of appointments are not portion of nan waiting database for elective care, they are regular follow-up appointments aft curen has occurred, and successful galore cases patients whitethorn beryllium booked for aggregate appointments; truthful it is simply incorrect to count these appointments arsenic patients aliases to authorities that each follow-up patients are waiting longer than needed.

'Thanks to nan difficult activity of staff, 87,000 much patients were treated successful August than successful nan aforesaid period earlier nan pandemic, while nan NHS is besides moving to trim nan number of unnecessary appointments, pinch thousands of patients deciding they don’t request to really attend.'

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