NHS promises thousands more operations and tests to help London backlog

  • london
  • March 7, 2023
  • Comments Off on NHS promises thousands more operations and tests to help London backlog
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The NHS has outlined plans to expand surgical capacity in London in hope of reducing the backlog caused by Covid. 

The health service proposes to conduct 51,000 more operations and 87,000 more diagnostic tests by the year 2025, after £207.3 million worth of funding was announced for the capital.

The plans comes at a time when levels of morale at the NHS remain low, with more strikes recently announced.

Junior doctors in England with the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) union are set to walk out for 72 hours next week.

They’re striking over their pay, ‘increasing workloads’ and a lack of staff.

It was reported late last year that a record seven million Brits were waiting for NHS care, which is the highest number since records began in 2007.

The extra cash for London will go towards creating additional surgical theatres, beds ring-fenced for surgical care and extra diagnostic equipment so NHS staff can see and treat more patients. 

Helen Pettersen, interim regional director for the NHS in London, called efforts to tackle waiting lists a ‘true testament to our hard-working NHS staff in the capital’.

‘This extra surgical and diagnostic capacity will only help move things in the right direction,’ she added.

The expansion in capacity will allow for operations to be carried out more effectively in one place. 

The NHS will be hoping to deliver lower wait times for surgery, and more patients will have the option to go home sooner after treatment. 

Hospital trusts which will be expanding their capacity

  • Moorfields Eye Hospital
  • Newham General Hospital
  • Kings College Hospital
  • Western Eye Hospital
  • Croydon Health Services Trust
  • St Thomas’ Hospital
  • Hammersmith Hospital
  • North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust
  • Royal Free Hospital
  • The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital
  • King George Hospital
  • University Hospital Lewisham
  • National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery
  • Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
  • Homerton University Hospital

Several London hospitals will be targeted, including Moorfields Eye Hospital, King George Hospital and St Thomas’ Hospital.

Meanwhile, North Middlesex University Hospital is building a new day surgery unit which will treat an additional 4,000 patients per year, and Hammersmith Hospital is getting a new cardiac CT scanner which could lead to 500 more tests per year.

The news of extra funding comes after it was reported last month that the backlog waits for A&E contributed to 23,000 excess patient deaths last year.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) warned of ‘catastrophic consequences’ to patient safety.

It found in 2022 some 1.66 million people in England waited more than 12 hours in A&E until they were admitted, transferred or discharged.

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The government previously warned this time last year that NHS waiting lists will not start to fall until March 2024.

Health secretary Sajid Javid suggested waitlists could even double in size, after 10 million people were thought to have stayed away during the pandemic.

Back in November, chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced he would increase the NHS budget by an extra £3.3 billion in each of the next two years.

Mr Hunt told the Commons last year he wants ‘Scandinavian quality alongside Singaporean efficiency’ in the NHS.

‘The NHS budget has been increased to record levels to deal with the pandemic and today I am asking it to join all public services in tackling waste and inefficiency,’ he said at the time. 

‘We want both better outcomes for citizens and better value for taxpayers. That does not mean asking people on the frontline, often exhausted and burned out, to work harder, which would not be fair.

‘But it does mean asking challenging questions about how to reform all our public services for the better.’

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