Clearing the NHS backlog built up by coronavirus could take five years, a health boss warned today.
Hospital waiting lists have hit a new high of 4.7 million people, with almost 390,000 of those waiting for over a year, according to figures last week.
NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson tweeted today: “Trusts are now getting a clearer picture of the size of the task ahead and it’s very concerning.
“There is a very significant care backlog that is going to take a huge amount of time/resource to clear.
“It’s difficult to be precise but … at the most extreme, some trusts in the worst position are telling us their initial estimates are that, on current trajectories, it will take them between three to five years to get back to the waiting times they should be delivering.
“They know this is not acceptable.”
The Department of Health and Social Care said: “Our NHS has faced significant challenges over the past year and we continue to support our incredible health and care staff who have kept services open this winter for thousands of patients.
“We are backing our NHS with an extra £7billion for health and care services this year, bringing our total additional Covid-19 investment to £92bn.
“This includes £1bn to support NHS recovery by tackling waiting lists and providing up to one million extra checks, scans and additional operations.”