The latest figures from the NHS show that at the end of September 2021, there were 150,486 people on the waiting list at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), that operates ten hospitals in Greater Manchester including Manchester Royal Infirmary and the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. 14,159 people had been waiting for more than a year for an appointment and 1,262 people had been waiting more than 2 years (the highest of any Trust in England).
In March 2020, at the outbreak of the Covid pandemic, there were 4,235,970 people on the NHS waiting list in England. Nationally, the standard of 92% of people seen within 18 weeks of a referral has not been met since 2016. However, the pandemic had a devastating effect on an already-fragile NHS, with the national waiting list is now 37.7 per cent higher than it was before Covid-19 hit the UK (an increase of 1,598,451 people). The current figure means that just over 1 in 10 people in England are on the NHS waiting list (10.3 per cent).
The Government is yet to publish its plan to address the vast NHS waiting list, with hospitals around the country already reporting unsustainable pressure and an inability to provide high quality care.
Nationally, the NHS is short of 100,000 staff, including 7,000 doctors and 40,000 nurses. In the Budget last month, the Chancellor did not set out a plan to recruit, train, and retain the staff needed to solve this waiting list crisis.
Afzal Khan MP said: “If people in Manchester can’t get the timely care they deserve, there will be devastating consequences.
“The doctors, nurses, and other health care staff at MFT are doing amazing work, trying to see as many people as they can and provide quality care. But there’s only so much they can do after a decade of underfunding and without the staff numbers they need.
“I call on the Government to come to MFT’s aid with a plan to staff and support the NHS in order to bring down waiting lists.”
Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said:, “We’ve heard serious warnings from hospital chiefs about the unsustainable pressure the NHS is under. These figures are confirmation of the dangerously lengthy waiting times patients are forced to endure and the scale of pressure on overwhelmed A&Es.
“The coming winter weeks are set to be the most challenging in history for the NHS. It’s now urgent Ministers fix the stalling vaccination programme, resolve the immediate crisis in social care and bring forward a long term plan to recruit the health care staff our NHS desperately needs, which Rishi Sunak has failed to provide despite imposing a punishing tax rise on working people.”