The Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) has called upon the NHS to tackle mounting waiting lists for elective care as the number of people waiting over a year has climbed by nearly 70% in twelve months.
The number of patients waiting over the 18-week RTT target has grown by more than a third in the last twelve months to reach 528,000 at the end of November 2018.
According to NHS England’s latest performance figures, there were 2,432 patients waiting more than a year for surgery at the end of November last year, up from 1,452 at the end of November 2017.
IHPN chief executive David Hare said: ‘These latest figures demonstrate yet again the desperate lack of elective capacity in the NHS with patients having to wait unacceptably long periods for vital procedures.
‘This week’s NHS long-term plan contained some welcome commitments on cutting waiting times for elective care, notably by offering patients a choice of provider with a clear statement that independent sector capacity should be used to improve access to care.’
NHS England published the ten-year plan on Monday (7 January), outlining its commitment to working with independent providers to offer alternative care to patients waiting beyond six months for procedures.
‘In light of today’s figures, it’s critical that these welcome words in the plan are now translated into real changes on the ground that benefit patients across the NHS,’ said Hare.