Responding to the latest NHS performance figures, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “These figures are truly concerning; though hospital trusts continue to increase the amount of routine operations they carry out, the fact remains, the number of people waiting over a year for treatment, 139,545, is the highest since 2008 and 107 times greater than in September 2019.
“These are poorly patients, getting steadily more ill as they wait and wait to get the care and treatment they need.
“An increasing number of trusts are being forced to cancel planned operations due to surges in Covid admissions, and winter, usually a time when demand escalates, is just around the corner. Emergency departments continue to struggle to meet demand with almost four times as many patients waiting on trolley beds for over 12 hours in October compared to the previous month.
“News of a Covid vaccine is welcome but it could still be many weeks or even months before any are widely available or that GP practices are properly resourced to vaccinate large numbers of people - and unlikely to be in time to help reduce hospital admissions this winter.
“The Government must provide an urgent and comprehensive plan, backed by appropriate funding across secondary, primary and community care to help frontline services cope this winter.
“Without this, we will be left to deal with the impact of this national health crisis long after the risk of Covid subsides.”
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.