Government must be honest about scale of NHS backlog

Doctors have stressed that the government needs to develop a public information campaign on the NHS backlog and likely timescale for returning to normal services.

The British Medical Association’s Annual Representative Meeting saw delegates pass a motion calling on the association to work with the government to develop the campaign – and provide adequate funding to provide capacity to deal with the backlog.

Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “During the height of the pandemic, services needed to be overhauled to manage the influx of Covid-19 patients – but this came at the expense of care for many other patients, who were forced to have treatment delayed.

“Now we have a situation where more than three million people in England alone are waiting for elective procedures, with many more left in limbo not knowing when they are likely to be seen for what can often be painful and distressing conditions. Doctors are naturally deeply concerned about these patients, and the government has a duty to the public to be honest about the scale of the backlog and how long it will take to clear – informed by the experiences of clinicians on the ground.

“And while the government pledged to give the NHS ‘everything it needed’ to fight the early days of the outbreak in Britain, it must now do the same in ensuring the health service has the capacity to address the growing backlog in care, backed by guaranteed investment. The upcoming spending review provides a vital opportunity for the government to commit to additional funding, and in doing so prove its commitment to the NHS and the health of the public.”

Event Diary

Following the 2017 Naylor Report into NHS estates, it has been estimated that estate upkeep costs have reached approximately £10bn in annual funding for 2019/2020.

More recently, ERIC (Estates Returns Information Collection) data collection has contained some deeply alarming news about the condition of NHS buildings and equipment.