Trusts have transformed their approach to reduce waiting lists to reach key milestone

09 August 2022

Responding to the announcement that the number of people on an NHS waiting list for two years or more has almost been eliminated by July, which is a key milestone in the NHS Elective Recovery Plan, the interim chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said:

"Reaching this major milestone, reflects the exceptionally hard work by staff throughout the NHS for patients and is no mean feat given ever-growing demand and huge pressures on services.

"Trusts have established good waiting list management processes and have approached the task of reducing the waiting list through a health inequalities lens. For example, trusts are by prioritising those patients at greater risk of poor outcomes and where the data shows certain groups statistically tend to wait longer for treatment, such as people with learning disabilities.

"Trusts have taken numerous steps to reduce waiting lists. This includes reviewing how outpatient appointments are delivered, transforming the approach to diagnostics and surgery through the creation of community diagnostic and surgical hubs, and utilising private sector partners to create more capacity, particularly for less complex procedures.

"To reduce waits across large geographies, trusts have also been working together in systems, supporting each other through local collaboration and mutual aid.

"They are doing all of this on top of meeting current COVID-19 and emergency demand.

"However, while we must commend this milestone, we must also recognise there is a long way to go. Demand across the system remains high, with mental health, community and hospital care backlogs, and a critical need to relieve pressure on ambulance services. Now trust leaders are committed to the next stage of the elective plan, including eliminating 78-week waits and cutting cancer diagnosis waiting times."

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