The boss of the national body representing private healthcare providers has called on the Government to reassure patients that it is doing everything possible to tackle the waiting list problem head on.
David Hare, chief executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN), said the public were consistently stating that bringing down waiting lists was their number-one priority for the NHS.
He was responding to the latest NHS performance stats showing the largest NHS waiting list on record at 5.1m and over 65,000 now waiting more than 18 months for treatment.
Mr Hare said the time had come for the Government to urgently set out a clear plan on how patient access to NHS care would be restored.
‘Despite the heroic efforts of healthcare staff to get services back on track, there were almost 170,000 fewer treatments or appointments delivered in April this year than in the same period in 2019 before the pandemic hit – a 13% fall – highlighting the scale of the challenge facing the NHS.’
Specialist medical accountant Ian Tongue, of Sandison Easson, said the impact of Covid on the private medical sector would be felt for several years to come as both the NHS and private sector tried to cope with a surge in demand and finite resources.
He told Independent Practitioner Today: ‘I am hearing from clients of significant private waiting lists and it is encouraging to hear that the capacity in the private hospitals is opening.’