NHS' 7.2-million waiting list leaves patients 'helpless, forgotten'
In the UK, NHS General Practitioners are concerned over patients' extended delays and growing uncertainty, especially when it comes to critical cases.
UK citizens are getting sicker as the waiting list for NHS scans and treatment hits 7.2 million-strong, says Professor Kamila Hawthorne, the chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners.
Due to the extended periods of delay and the growing uncertainty of when they will be seen by a professional, Hawthorne argues, UK patients were left feeling “helpless and forgotten."
The waiting list, the chair said, included patients awaiting hip or knee replacements, those suffering from heart problems, as well as people with potential signs of cancer whom GPs have said require urgent attention.
Hawthorne, in an interview for The Guardian, stated that “patients getting sicker while they are on the waiting list is something GPs see and worry about, because the risk to the patient is so much greater. It’s inevitable that some people stuck will get sicker, because that’s the nature of illness.”
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50,000 British family doctors, all of which are represented by Hawthorne, called on the NHS to establish an "Amazon-style tracking system" that would allow patients to monitor and track the time for their next medical visitation.
"Something like the Amazon system would be amazing. In an ideal world, the NHS would have a system that would let people track where they are on the waiting list," the chair said.
It is worth noting that the reduction of NHS waiting times has been one of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's five key policy pledges, however, the current list is considered one of England's highest ever.
Children's wait for medical care in the UK grows alarmingly: NHS
Data from the UK's National Health Service (NHS), earlier in February, revealed that the backlog of children receiving medical care increased by 50% over the past two years.
According to figures, at least 364,000 children are waiting their turn to receive treatment, while another 200,000 are in urgent need of medical care.
"Lengthy waits are unacceptable for any patient, but for children and young people, waits can be catastrophic, as many treatments need to be given by a specific age or developmental stage. It is not the same as for adults," Mike McKean, vice president of policy at the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health told The Independent.
"If you miss the right window to treat a child or wait too long, the consequences can be irrevocable," he added, noting that the intensive care capacity was being "pushed to the limits."
Since April 2021, backlog figures have been increasing at unprecedented rates, reaching up to 48%.
In November alone, about 3,000 children were waiting for more than 18 months to receive care, while more than 15,000 were waiting for more than a year.
Surgeries are being rescheduled several times or canceled due to shortages of staffers or beds at the NHS.
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