NHS performance stats reveal ‘devastating extent of patient suffering’ amid ‘daunting’ backlog

BMA press release

Location: England
Published: Thursday 10 September 2020

Responding to the latest NHS performance figures, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “Today’s figures reveal the devastating extent of patient suffering across the country as people wait longer than ever before for treatment during Covid-19.

“The average wait for treatment by a hospital consultant went up to 19.6 weeks in July, meaning patients are waiting almost five months to get the care they need.

“What’s more, the number of patients waiting more than a year for treatment at the end of July soared again, this time to 83,000 – the highest number since October 2008. That’s 81 times more people than last July. Demand in A&E went up again in August as well, with 12,000 more patients waiting more than four hours on a trolley bed compared to the month before.

“For cancer patients, the proportion of people receiving their first cancer treatment two months after a national screening service remained very low, at just 25%, causing huge amounts of distress to them and their loved ones.

“It is therefore, vital that the Government invests now with clear plans of expanding NHS infrastructure and capacity to cope with the demand of both Covid and non-Covid patients.

“Equally important is that the Government must urgently do everything it can to prevent the escalating spread of coronavirus. Given limited capacity in the NHS, surges in cases coupled with winter pressures will make it difficult to resume normal services. At worst a second spike will overwhelm our already battered NHS and add insult to injury by generating a further, potentially uncontrollable, backlog.”


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.

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