Hospitals are cancelling more than 22,000 appointments every day despite the Government’s pledge to clear the NHS backlog. The Telegraph has the story.
The average number of daily cancellations this year, so far, was up 20% on pre-pandemic figures, when around 18,000 were axed every day.
Some patients’ appointments are being cancelled multiple times, the data, revealed through freedom of information requests to English hospital trusts, also shows.
In 2021, 30,267 appointments were cancelled five times or more, compared to 17,884 in 2019, an increase of 69%.
Jeremy Hunt, former Health Secretary, said the numbers were “staggering” and warned that without a workforce plan, more appointments will be cancelled in the future.
Health Secretary Therese Coffey last week set out her “plan for patients” and promised to make progress reducing waiting times for care.
Some 6.8 million patients are currently waiting to start treatment, the highest on record, as of July.
“We expect backlogs to rise before they fall as more patients come forward for diagnosis and treatment after the pandemic,” Ms Coffey said…
Official figures released by NHS Digital this week from all NHS trusts in England show one in 10 (9.5%) appointments, 11.6 million, were cancelled by a hospital in 2021-22. In 2011-12, 6.3% of appointments were cancelled (5.8 million).
Although there have been some improvements since 2020, the number of outpatient appointments carried in 2021-22 were still below pre-pandemic levels, 122.3 million compared to 124.9 million in 2019-20…
Mr Hunt said: “Such a staggering number of cancellations is largely down to one thing – a shortage of staff. We urgently need a workforce plan that addresses this because without more doctors and nurses even more appointments will be cancelled in the future.”
Worth reading in full.