'Daunting and huge challenge ahead’ for NHS as latest performance stats paint ‘very bleak picture’

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA. 

Location: England
Published: Thursday 13 August 2020

Responding to the latest NHS performance statistics1 which include the worst-ever waits across a number of performance areas, including consultant-referred treatment, BMA council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said:

“These latest set of NHS performance stats are deeply concerning and paint a very bleak picture for the future delivery of patient care if urgent intervention is not forthcoming. This is despite doctors and NHS staff working tirelessly around the clock to deliver care in increasingly challenging circumstances.

“Worryingly, we are seeing record lows across the board. With the time taken to receive consultant-referred treatment now the longest on record, and with only half of patients receiving treatment within 18 weeks of being referred – the lowest on record – a daunting and huge challenge lies ahead to resume normal levels of care. Patients will understandably be very anxious to be able to access the care they need and, with the number of people waiting over a year for treatment the highest it has been in a decade – over 46 times as many as last June – there are real concerns that many patients' conditions will worsen while they wait.

“We know that doctors are extremely worried about the prospect of being able to manage demand as normal care resumes alongside the very real threat of a second wave as we approach the winter months ahead.

“The Government needs to have a clear twin-track strategy to ensure that we can get through the backlog of care – with a focus on treating those most in need as a priority – along with managing Covid-19 patients and being ready for a possible second wave and flu season ahead.

“It is therefore crucial that there are adequate resources available to ensure that we can resume the normal delivery of care for as many patients as possible, as a matter of urgency, without stretching staff beyond capacity to achieve this.

“The Government must also learn from the mistakes of the past and ensure that the health service is ready and equipped – including ensuring adequate PPE for NHS staff – so it is fully prepared in the event of a second wave.”


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. Latest NHS performance statistics

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