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UK doctors call for special surgery hubs to address ‘colossal’ Covid-19 backlog of operations

UK doctors call for special surgery hubs to address ‘colossal’ Covid-19 backlog of operations
The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) has called on the UK government to set up special surgery hubs to address the “colossal backlog” of non-urgent procedures that were cancelled because of the Covid outbreak.

Issuing a warning to the UK government, the professional body said that the issue had to be tackled urgently or there is a risk that waiting lists will become “insurmountable.” 

The proposal from the RCS would see temporary surgery hubs set up in every region of England to ensure that procedures can continue even if there is another wave of Covid-19 infections or other diseases that impact the ability of the NHS to deal with non-urgent cases.

“We need government support for a New Deal for Surgery to reduce the colossal backlog in elective surgery and to help the NHS weather future pandemics,” the president of the RCS, Professor Neil Mortensen, said in a statement.

We cannot allow surgery to grind to a halt again or waiting lists will become insurmountable.

The RCS is asking the government to include an extra £1 billion ($1.42 billion) of spending on surgery annually for a five-year period, as well as 11 other recommendations that would seek to provide long- and short-term measures “to improve the future sustainability of surgical services.”

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The UK government has previously pledged a one-time provision of £1 billion to address elective-surgery delays but the chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, has warned that the money could be spent by autumn, with more required to get through the bulk of delayed procedures.

NHS figures released earlier in May found that almost five million people in England are currently on waiting lists in a record backlog of delayed non-urgent hospital procedures, with more than 400,000 already having waited more than a year to have their surgery.

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