Government plans to cut waiting lists will not be an overnight fix, warns BMA

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: UK
Published: Thursday 11 July 2024
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Responding to today’s NHSE waiting list numbers, Prof Phil Banfield said:

“Today’s increased waiting lists show the daunting scale of the new Government’s task with the NHS in England. There are 7.6 million treatments yet to be carried out – a shameful legacy for them to inherit.

“The Government agrees with us that the NHS is broken; doctors have been saying as much for years, and any solution stems from agreement on this simple observation. As Mr Streeting knows the NHS is broken, he will also know that it cannot be fixed overnight. You cannot run on a broken leg.

“Similarly, the Government’s plans to cut waiting lists need to take into account the constraints arising from a depleted NHS workforce. Overworked and burned-out doctors after years of understaffing must be valued for their essential skills and expertise, and supported to deliver more care through facilities, resources and looking after their health and well-being.

“Effective medical engagement needs to happen if there is to be a significant increase in evening and weekend work, and existing barriers such as punitive pensions rules that punish additional work will need to be addressed.

“When Government works with doctors and other NHS and care workers, not against us, significant and rapid progress can be made. Once again, this increase in the waiting list came in a month without strikes – the days of blaming health workers for the NHS’s failures must be put behind us.

“The Government announced today it would be starting an independent investigation into how the NHS was failed. The refusal to listen to staff is surely the first culprit on the list.”



Notes to editors


The BMA is a professional association and trade union 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.