Responding to IFS analysis showing that NHS waiting lists are unlikely to fall significantly in 2023, BMA workforce lead Dr Latifa Patel said:
“Despite some progress being made to reduce the number of patients waiting over two years, this analysis shows that we still face an extraordinary uphill struggle to bring waiting lists down to a level that is manageable.
“Doctors and staff are working under enormous pressure to provide care for the millions on waiting lists. It is therefore extremely worrying that the IFS predicts that even more patients will need to be treated simply so that the waiting list levels will remain static. The current level of pressure is not sustainable and it is ridiculous to suggest that the NHS can somehow ‘increase treatment volumes’ without significant investment and a credible workforce plan.
“Clearly the current system does not have the capacity to tackle the backlog at the rate the Government is claiming as their plans to increase elective care activity have fallen short.
“If the Government truly wants to increase the number of patients being treated, boosting the NHS workforce must be its immediate priority; elective recovery will never be achieved by simply piling more work on an already overstretched and exhausted workforce. If the Government is serious about addressing this, we need to see the forthcoming long-term workforce strategy backed with funding as well as solutions like addressing pay restoration and punitive pension taxation so we can retain and boost our workforce. While the Government delays, 7.2 million people are still languishing on waiting lists."
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.