NHS waiting list will take seven years to clear without £10,000,000,000 funding

The NHS Confederation and NHS Providers say patients are ‘genuinely in peril’ (Picture: Getty)

The NHS backlog could hit 13 million and take seven years to clear without an extra £10 billion of funding per year, health bosses have warned.

Frontline groups said patients ‘are genuinely in peril’ and that their health outcomes depend on a ‘crucial’ upcoming spending review.

The government is finalising a funding plan to cover the NHS for the next three years, with a decision expected as soon as next week.

The NHS Confederation and NHS Providers say infection control, extra PPE, the burden of long Covid and post-pandemic mental illness will cost an extra £4.6bn.

On top of that, clearing the record 5.5 million treatment backlog is calculated at between £3.5bn and 4.5bn.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: ‘NHS frontline funding for 2022/23 needs to rise by around £10 billion in addition to capital, social care and central Government covid costs.

Ministers have been urged to wake up to the ‘seismic’ impact of Covid-19

‘Trust leaders are worried that anything short of £10 billion next year will force them to cut services.

‘They are worried that, despite best efforts at the frontline, the 13 million waiting list they are desperate to avoid will become inevitable.

‘And this backlog will take five to seven, not two to three, years to clear.’

The costings are laid out in a new report by the two organisations, which is based on a survey of leaders based at England’s 213 hospital, mental health, community and ambulance trusts.

Mr Taylor said that without adequate funding, leaders worry that they won’t be able to provide ‘prompt, high quality, safe care to all who need it’ because existing pressures will ‘worsen and become more widespread across more of the year’.

He said: ‘They worry that all the advances made on mental health over the last decade could go into reverse.

‘And they worry that all the planned improvements in the NHS Long Term Plan in areas like cancer and cardiac care set will be put at risk.’

It is understood the Treasury is considering a deal around £5bn short of what the trust leaders say they need, according to The Mirror.

The NHS waiting list in England already stands at a record 5.5million, with more than 300,000 people waiting over a year for treatment.

This is expected to sky rocket as millions who delayed or were unable to seek care during the peak of the pandemic come forward.

Many hospitals have had to cancel operations, scans and appointments to focus on treating Covid patients over the last 18 months, while many people were too scared to attend hospital for fear of catching the virus.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, urged ministers to wake up to the ‘seismic impact’ of Covid-19, ‘which is unlike anything the service has experienced in its 73-year history’.

‘The Government has said that we must learn to ‘live with Covid’, he said.

‘That means they must fully recognise the extent, length and cost of the impact of Covid-19 on the NHS.’

In a joint statement, the leaders of the two bodes said: ‘Patients genuinely are at peril.

‘The Government has to demonstrate that the NHS is safe in its hands. Frontline NHS leaders cannot stand idly by if they are forced to cut services, putting patients at risk.’

A Government spokesperson said: ‘We are committed to making sure the NHS has everything it needs to continue providing excellent care to the public as we tackle the backlogs that have built up during the pandemic.

‘This year alone we have already provided a further £29 billion to support health and care services, including an extra £1 billion to tackle the backlog. This is on top of our historic settlement for the NHS in 2018, which will see its budget rise by £33.9 billion by 2023/24.’

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