The “depleted” workforce of the NHS must be addressed to reduce the record backlog, says the think tank

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The NHS needs to improve its approach to its “depleted” and “cramped” workforce to address its backlog of appointments, says the King’s Fund, a think tank specializing in health policy.

5.8 million people are currently awaiting hospital treatment in England, new data from NHS England say.

This is a record since records began in 2007.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said last month that it is “impossible to know” whether the NHS backlog will be resolved within three years.

Data released by NHS England in October showed a previous record figure of 5.7 million people in England awaiting hospital treatment and that the figure is growing by 100,000 per month.

Commenting on the latest NHS hospital performance statistics for September and October, Deborah Ward, senior analyst at The King’s Fund, said, “Today’s statistics reveal the worst performance since current records for ambulance calls began, A & Es and awaits planned hospital care. In a normal year each of these alarm bells sounds; taken together before even the onset of winter, they suggest that a health and care system overheated for such an extended period while still being deals with Covid-19, is now on its knees.

“Patients are facing long waits to be seen and admitted to the emergency department; the performance against the four-hour target for the main A&E is at an all-time low of 61.9% (against a target of 95%), while most hospitals now also report patients waiting over 12 hours for be hospitalized. The waiting list for planned care is 5.8 million and while NHS staff are working hard to tackle this backlog, around 1.5 million people – half the population of Wales – join the waiting list. every month. We must remember that these are not just large numbers – they are people living with pain and anxiety waiting for treatment, in some cases for more than two years.

Chronic workforce shortage builds further pressure on overburdened staff who are exhausted from the pandemic and will be the limiting factor in the government’s ambitions to address the backlog and increase NHS activity and performance. Yet the workforce has become a blind spot for the government; Without a multi-year, fully funded workforce strategy, the health and healthcare system continues to cope with declining performance. ”

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