Statement from RCSEd President Michael Griffin on Cancelled Operations

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14 Jan 2021

Reacting to last NHS England figures that show 4.46 million people were waiting to start hospital treatment in England at the end of November 2020, with almost 200,000 people waiting more than a year for an operation, Professor Michael Griffin, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh said:

We are naturally concerned with the size and scale of surgical waiting lists.

These figures are the highest since records began. Plus the number of people admitted for routine treatment in hospitals down by more than a quarter in November compared to a year ago.

This means that a greater number of patients needing urgent surgical care will simply not get it. This will seriously impact their personal wellbeing and have repercussions for their loved ones and society more generally.

It also means that surgical teams will continue to be under immense pressure for the foreseeable future. As referrals have dropped significantly during the pandemic, there will be an explosion of delayed referrals once the vaccine programme has brought Covid under control. A further, second ‘invisible waiting list’ has to be taken into account.

We therefore need to urgently increase investment in both surgical services and the surgical workforce to ensure the NHS is able to deal with this backlog as soon as possible


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