Health

Big rise in year-long waits for surgery in England

The number of patients waiting more than a year for non-urgent surgery in England has risen sharply to the highest level in more than six years.

The figure reached 3,517 in June – an increase of more than 400 from May – and the highest since April 2012.

This is despite a pledge in 2014 by the then Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to end the "unacceptable" waits.

Meanwhile, a survey found nearly 40% of patients were unable to get a GP appointment at the time they wanted.

Figures released by NHS England also showed that the number of people attending A&E reached an all-time high in July.

Attendances reached 2,176,022 that month, part of an upward trend.

In July, there were emergency 530,000 admissions to A&E, although this figure was higher in May.

It comes after the body that represents NHS trusts last month warned that the summer heatwave was adding to pressures on health services.

NHS Providers said some trusts had reported record numbers of people coming into A&E, often with respiratory problems and other conditions made worse by dehydration.

Saffron Cordery, NHS Providers' deputy chief executive, said at the time that extra visits in A&E were causing delays for patients requiring non-urgent surgery, which includes knee and hip replacement.

Back in 2014, Jeremy Hunt said no-one – except those in "exceptional circumstances" – should have to wait more than a year for routine surgery.

The NHS is meant to see 90% of patients who need such operations within 18 weeks.

But the data released by NHS England shows that the number of patients waiting more than this in June was at the highest level in a decade, at more than 500,000.

The percentage of those seen in the target time was 87.8%.

GP satisfaction

Separately, a survey of 760,000 people across England on their views of their GP practice found nearly 84% described their overall experience of their surgery as very or fairly good.

And 68.6% rated their overall experience of making an appointment as good.

But just 66% of patients who wanted a same-day appointment said they managed to get one.

Original Article

BBC

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