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NHS Alert: Record waiting list figures could take years to clear up

The latest waiting list statistics were released in April, setting a new record since 2007. There are currently 6.2 million people in England waiting to start treatment, equivalent to one in nine of the population.

Other worrying figures:
• People waiting more than 12 hours to be admitted to A&E in England. also rises to a new record – up 6,000 on the month before.
• Some 23,281 people had been waiting more than two years.
• The target for eliminating waits of 12 months-plus is March 2025.


NHS waiting list

Source: BBC / NHS

Alarming figures whose consequences are not only suffered by patients, but also by professionals. According to the latest claims by media such as the BBC, some hospitals urged to use retired staff to cut backlog. But these measures do not seem to be enough, so much so that many Britons are paying for private medical treatment. In fact, according to the Guardian: “Private hospital operators expect the boom in self-pay to continue for at least the next three to five years, with half of the industry leaders expecting the market to grow by 10%-15% by 2025”.

But obviously, not all citizens can afford to pay for medical treatment, which puts the healthcare system in a very unstable situation. In the words of Dr Adrian Boyle, vice president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, hospitals are under unsustainable pressure.

And yet, expectations for improvement are not in the short term, as NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard explains, “addressing the backlog would take time”.

But is there currently any possibility of speeding up this process? The answer is yes. In an unsustainable situation like the current one, the effort must not only fall on medical professionals. Technology, which has been a plausible option to make processes visible and orchestrated for years, is now more necessary than ever.

Solutions like ORvital can increase operation theatre throughput by more than 12%, without the need to increase staff, resources, or processes, …

But the benefits of applying digital systems in the process do not end there, according to data obtained from the Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona, ORvital has been able to reduce the operating theatre start time ratio by 35 minutes; unplanned extensions were reduced by 50 percent and the occupancy rate of PACU beds rose from 65 percent to 81 percent.

The NHS will be able to take the traditional measures possible and thereby achieve some improvement. But if we expect a health system where waiting lists are an anecdote, time management is the key. Not just the time it takes for a patient to be seen, but the time that technology is able to give medical professionals to devote entirely to the care of these patients.

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