Europe

NHS backlog falls by 80 percent since January but Covid is on rise

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It fell from a peak of 22,500 at the start of the year to 4,522 by June 26.

Those waiting more than two years for cataract operations dropped by 92 percent, while joint replacements were down by 61 percent.

Sir James Mackey, NHS England national director of elective recovery, said: “Staff have been working flat out to carry out as many cataract procedures and hip and knee replacements as possible.”

From dedicated surgery hubs to increasing the number of procedures carried out each day, to ensuring treatment transfers can happen for those patients prepared to travel, NHS staff are doing everything possible to bring down long waits for patients even further.”

New initiatives include “Super Saturdays” where surgeons focus on one type of procedure throughout the day. London’s Guy’s and St Thomas’s dedicate regular weekends to focus on particular operations, carrying out three times more than would usually take place.

But NHS chiefs have warned that pressure on services is likely to remain high throughout the summer, autumn and winter.

Hospitals in England are caring for more than 12,000 Covid-positive patients, up from 4,000 a month ago.

One in 10 hospital beds is now occupied by a Covidinfected patient.

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