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Long Waits For Surgery Have Triple in Last Four Years

According to the latest research from the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), the number of patients waiting more than six months for surgery treatment in England has tripled in the last four years.

The number of patients waiting for treatment stood at 126,188 in March this year, a huge increase compared to March 2013, when only 45,054 were waiting over 6 months for treatment. But nine out of 10 patients were still treated within 18 weeks, data shows.

The RCS is also announcing strategies to regularly analyse six and nine month waits in the National Health Service (NHS) to push political parties to take action and try and tackle increasing waiting times for treatment.

In a recent investigation by health think tank the Nuffield Trust said that no political party was promising increases in NHS funding that would meet the rising demands on the health system nor had any clear plan to deal with increasing waiting times.

The president of the RCS, Clare Marx said that the college is struggling to meet the standards and timeliness of care that the public truly expect.

She further added that it is unacceptable for such a large number of patients to be waiting over six month in pain and discomfort for treatment. Many of those patients were older and waiting longer for surgery could have an effect on their quality of life and how well they recovered after surgery.

The Labour’s shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth said that the underfunding of the NHS has pushed services to the brink. It is shameful that so many more people are waiting six months or more for treatment.

A spokesperson from NHS England said that over the past five years the NHS has cut the number of patients waiting more than a year for treatment by nearly 13,000 and spending on non-urgent surgery is continuing to rise.

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