Responding to today’s NHS data on waiting lists in England, Dr David Wrigley, BMA council deputy chair, said:
“Today’s statistics are a stark reminder that, despite falling Covid-19 infection rates and the progress of the vaccination campaign, the health service remains in an incredibly precarious state.
“With the waiting list for treatment reaching another record-high, almost 388,000 people have waited for longer than a year for routine operations in England – a staggering 240-fold increase from 12 months ago.
“Behind each of these shocking figures are people – people facing months of pain and anguish as they wait for vital treatment.
“Doctors want so desperately to provide care to patients, and it distresses them to see so many people not getting the care they need.
“Meanwhile, staff are exhausted after spending a year battling the pandemic on the front line, and are now looking with severe trepidation at the largest backlog in care ever, so it is vital that their own health and wellbeing are protected – allowing them time to rest and recover.
“With other recent data suggesting a small rise in hospital admissions for Covid-19 in recent days, now is a critical time for the health service. As restrictions begin to ease, it is crucial that everyone does their part in preventing the spread of what is still an incredibly dangerous virus, and continues to practise physical distancing, wearing masks when required and following public health guidance. The NHS, its staff and patients – already stretched to the limit - cannot afford to be overwhelmed by a new surge in infections.”
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.