Professor Jackie Taylor, President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, has welcomed the new report New Deal for Surgery, published by the Royal College of Surgeons of England.
The report recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devasting impact on NHS surgical services in England.
All elective (planned) surgery was cancelled in the first wave and many surgical teams were redeployed to help treat COVID-19 patients.
Latest figures show the largest ever recorded NHS waiting list in England of 4.95 million people, including more than 430,000 waiting over a year.
In addition, there is a ‘hidden waiting list’ of people who have not yet come forward or who have not yet been referred for hospital treatment. Estimates vary, but could mean the waiting list growing to a figure of 9.7 million by 2023/24.
Professor Jackie Taylor said:
“Since the pandemic hit NHS services across the UK, there has been an incredible response where innovation and decisive action took over, everyone responded quickly and did the best they possibly could for patients.
“The new report New Deal for Surgery by the Royal College of Surgeons of England demonstrates that same determination and innovative thinking.
“The report contains twelve key recommendations on how to recover and renew health services to bring down the waiting lists quickly and safely.
“It is an excellent piece of work which outlines the necessary steps to enable NHS surgical services to not only return to pre-pandemic strength but also signposts the way forward to improve and enhance surgery provision for patients and surgical staff alike.”