People in Poor Regions Almost Twice as Likely to Wait More than 12 Months for Hospital Treatment

People living in some of England’s poorer regions are more likely to be forced to wait longer to receive routine treatment on the NHS, according to a new analysis. Waiting lists are also growing at a faster rate in these areas, where people are less likely to be able to afford private healthcare. The Telegraph has the story.

Data from The King’s Trust and Healthwatch England found that 7% of people waiting for treatment in the poorest regions will wait more than 12 months. 

However, for the most affluent areas, this figure is just 4%. …

From April 2020 to July 2021, waiting lists have swelled by 55%, on average, in the most deprived parts of the country compared with 36% in the richest areas.

Despite the efforts of NHS staff during the pandemic, the backlog has grown to 5.61 million people – almost one in every 10 people in England.

The NHS has now been told by the watchdog to ensure people have “interim support” in place while it tackles the record backlog of untreated patients. 

The analysis comes as a poll Healthwatch England exposed the toll the waiting list is having on people’s physical and mental health.

A survey of 1,600 people who were either on the waiting list themselves or had a loved one in need of treatment, found that 54% said it was affecting their mental health while 57% said the wait was affecting their physical health.

And 48% did not have any support to manage their condition during their wait.

Almost one in five (18%) have already gone private for treatment or are considering it, but 47% said that paying for private treatment “was not an option”.

Worth reading in full.

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