12th Apr, 2021

Health chief warns of 'two-year wait' for operations by next election

Rob George 4th Apr, 2021

THE CHAIRMAN of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has issued a stark warning of a two-year wait for vital operations by the time of the next General Election.

Sir David Nicholson made the claim and highlighted the ‘truly frightening’ backlog of care caused by the pandemic.

In addition to the risks to patients health, the health chief warned the issue would become a major political problem for Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the build up to the next election with speculation this weekend of a May 2023 poll.

In an interview with the Guardian, Sir David pointed to an explosion in the number of those waiting a least a year for a medical procedure since the start of the Covid-19 crisis last March.

“The backlog is truly frightening. We can very easily get to the next election with people waiting over two years. It’s easy to do that,” Nicholson told the newspaper.

“The whole issue of access is a greater threat to the NHS than privatisation because poor access undermines confidence amongst those people who fund the service – taxpayers,” he added.

More than 4.5million people in England are waiting for hospital treatment with the NHS Confederation warning this week the figure could rise to close to seven million when those who have put off a visit to their GP seek help.

Sir David was the boss of the NHS for eight year until 2014 when current chief Simon Stevens took over. As well as being the chair of the Trust which runs the Worcestershire Royal and the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch, he is also the chair of the NHS integrated care system in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, which brings together different providers of care.

The system began on Thursday (April 1) and speaking to promote the launch, Sir David said: “Working together we will be better able to tackle health inequality, join up the care for those with multiple conditions, improve support for people with life-long illness and support children to lead healthy lives.”

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