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NHS reaches backlog milestone as longest waits are almost cleared

A major target established in the NHS Elective Recovery Plan has virtually been reached as the number of patients waiting two years or more for care has been cut significantly.

This first step in the plan was focused on those patients waiting two years or more by the end of July, except where they chose to wait longer, did not want to travel to be seen faster, or for very complex cases requiring specialist treatment.

There were more than 22,500 people who had been waiting two years or more at the start of the year, and a further 51,000 who would have breached two years by the end of July have also been treated.

Due to the hard work and innovation of doctors, nurses, therapists, physios and other NHS staff the number has been reduced to just 2,777, despite COVID and other pressures, of whom 1,579 opted to defer treatment and 1,030 are very complex cases, as set out in the plan.

NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff the NHS has delivered the first milestone in our Elective Recovery Plan… the next phase will focus on patients waiting longer than 18 months”.


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