Surgeons call for more cash to slash record waiting backlog

Surgeons are pressing for health secretary Thérèse Coffey to add Elective recovery and Funding to her ‘ABCD’ mantra, as NHS statistics reported a record 6.84m waiting list in July for planned hospital treatment.

Royal College of Surgeons of England vice-president Mr Tim Mitchell said: ‘I hope Ms Coffey will add an E and F to her alphabet list of priorities. E for elective recovery and F for funding. Without this, the backlog that she wants to tackle will continue to grow.’ 

Outlining her ‘ABCD’ mantra, Ms Coffey pledged to focus on ‘ambulances, backlogs, care, doctors and dentists’.

The college welcomed her promise ‘to deliver for patients’, but stressed this would depend on continuing to fund the elective recovery. 

Mr Mitchell said surgeons had made significant progress reducing very long waits for hospital treatment. Those waiting two years or more dropped from 23,778 in January to 2,885 in July, down to the commitment of surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses supported by additional elective recovery funding. 

‘We cannot afford to let this progress slip or the elective recovery could be derailed at a vital juncture. Funding new surgical hubs and investment in staff will be key to the elective recovery in the months ahead,’ he said.