Private healthcare providers are urging the Government to set out a clear strategy to ensure patients can access the care they need both now and in the future.
The plea was led by David Hare, chief executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN), in a response welcoming the Health and Social Care Select Committee’s new report into Clearing the backlog caused by the pandemic.
With NHS waiting lists at a record high and likely to grow significantly in light of the omicron variant, he said the IHPN was joining the committee’s call for a national health and care recovery plan.
‘Given the scale of the backlog, we need an “all shoulders to the wheel” response to reducing NHS waiting lists, and the committee’s report rightly emphasises the important role the independent health sector will have in supporting local NHS areas to increase elective activity and bring down waiting times.
‘Tackling the elective backlog is the public’s number-one priority for the NHS and we urge the Government to take on these recommendations and set out a clear strategy to ensure patients can access the care they need both now and in the future.’
Dr David Wrigley, BMA deputy council chairman, said the biggest barrier to tackling the backlog caused by the pandemic was a severe staffing crisis. The BMA’s calls for improved workforce planning had thankfully been heard and it was time for the Government to listen.
He added: ‘We need to keep our talented doctors working in the NHS and support them in every way we can including ending punitive pension taxation rules which are driving doctors to retire early, prioritising workforce in all winter funding decisions and supporting doctors’ mental and physical well-being.’