Responding to the latest NHS performance figures1, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “With almost a staggering quarter of a million people now waiting more than a year for treatment - the largest amount since April 2008 - the tsunami of work yet to come for doctors and NHS staff after the pandemic has finally subsided is now unavoidable.
“In addition, the number of people who have needed hospital treatment for Covid-19 has led to other key services, such as cancer referrals and treatment, facing huge disruption and delay, with patients and their families suffering while they wait, with no end date in view.
“Although demand in A&E units has decreased, the four-hour target has plummeted to a record-breaking low this month, with almost 4,000 people waiting on trolleys for more than 12 hours to be admitted to a hospital bed. These are patients in pain, distress, and who deserve the help they need, quickly.
“Although Covid cases and hospitalisations are now beginning to come down, they remain extremely high, and services will continue to experience severe pressures in the coming weeks, with elective care patients remaining stuck in an agonising no man’s land as they wait for treatment.
“This is just as frustrating for staff who are doing everything they can to keep the health service afloat, but we can’t carry on like this for much longer. Doctors are physically and emotionally exhausted, and we desperately need the Government to devise a thorough action plan for how the NHS will support and invest in staff and services to tackle the immense amount of work ahead."
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. For the full A&E performance figures, click here. Consultant-led to referral treatment times are here, and cancer waiting time figures can be found here.