‘Alarming’ NHS performance stats show ‘huge challenge ahead’ for the NHS, warns BMA

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA.

Location: England
Published: Thursday 10 December 2020
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Responding to the latest NHS England performance statistics1, which show significant increases in waiting times and declining performance on cancer targets, BMA council deputy chair Dr David Wrigley said:

“The latest set of NHS performance stats highlights the huge challenge that lies ahead in trying to clear the enormous backlog of care and bringing down the waiting lists, which have been significantly exacerbated by the pandemic.

“It is quite frankly alarming that the number of patients waiting more than a year for care is now 123 times higher than last October – the highest since May 2008. These are patients in pain, distress and needing treatment.

“Worryingly, despite lower demand in A&E, the number of 12-hour trolley waits has doubled since last November as emergency departments are still struggling to cope. We are also seeing a drop across many key cancer performance targets since last year, which begs serious concern for the health and welfare of these often seriously ill patients.

“There is no doubt we are in a worse position than this time last year and the NHS now faces unparalleled pressures this winter as we deal with the pandemic, a growing backlog and the annual seasonal pressures.

“While last month’s Spending Review contained some additional funding to help tackle the backlog, it falls well short of what is needed. The Government must urgently commit to a much stronger package of support if the NHS has any chance of recovering from this pandemic.

“In the meantime, doctors and their colleagues on the frontline will continue to do everything they can to ensure patients receive the care they need, and patients should continue to seek care when they need it.

 “Above all, it remains vital that we all continue to follow Covid guidelines to help protect the NHS, save lives and reduce the spread of the virus.”


Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

  1. NHS England performance statistics.

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