The waiting list for elective treatment in the NHS in England has reached an unprecedented level. It is likely to become the defining NHS issue as we approach the next general election, and brings a very real human cost as millions endure a long and uncertain wait. So what can be done?
A new report published by Policy Exchange sets out proposals for reform. In the report a number of recommendations are made which call on the NHS and Government to:
- Adopt a relentless focus on ensuring that unknown clinical risks are accounted for by prioritising patients who currently lack a diagnosis.
- Improve transparency, by showing patients how clinical prioritisation methodologies are being applied to them and supporting them whilst they wait.
- Learn the positive lessons of the pandemic in embracing new ways of working across the NHS and with its partners.
- Accept we need to adapt the public conversation around NHS performance relating to elective care to make it more candid, accountable, and open in an era of unprecedented waiting times.