In a bid to help the NHS through the backlog, over 6,000 patients who have been waiting for a long time for treatment are being offered travel and accommodation costs where appropriate.
Health officials in the country are on a mandate to see that no patient is waiting more than two years by the end of July. So far, more than 400 patients have indicated interest in traveling.
Also, 17 orthopaedic patients from the South West of England are being treated in South-West London with another 11 patients expected to follow in a couple of weeks.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said that progress has been made as the number of two-year waits had been reduced by two-thirds since January.
“Innovations like this are helping to tackle waiting lists and speed up access to treatment, backed by record investment,” he said.
Furthermore, Mr Sajid Javid also said that more than 90 community diagnostic centres have carried out over a million checks and scans over the past year, emphasizing that the NHS were making “great progress” in busting the Covid backlogs with weekend clinics and dedicated surgery hubs.
However, British Medical Association leader Dr Chaand Nagpaul has warned that these attempts to address the backlog would be frustrated by a lack of staff and beds.
He made mention that there were already 100,000 vacancies in the NHS in England and it could get worse as doctors were “utterly exhausted” and their wellbeing was at “rock bottom”.
He also mentioned about a “parallel hidden backlog of potentially tens of millions waiting for medical, mental health and chronic disease care who don’t feature in any government statistics”.
Before now, there were 22,500 people waiting more than two years for an operation in England in January, but currently, that number stands at about 17,500.
But the latest monthly figures released by the NHS shows that May was the busiest for emergency care with 2.2 million A&E attendances. Furthermore, a record high approximately 6.5 million people are waiting for hospital treatment in England. Many of them are waiting for knee and hip replacements, and eye surgery.
These backlogs were caused by the Covid pandemic when hospitals had to give priority to covid patients forcing patients who had other illnesses to wait much longer for treatment.
Chief executive of NHS England, Amanda Pritchard said: “Millions who did not seek help earlier in the pandemic are now coming forward.” She also said that the NHS was on track to clean up two-year waiters by the end of July despite the emergence of the Omicron variant and a difficult winter.
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