One in six doctors catching up on their Covid backlog, survey suggests

Only one in six doctors are catching up on their backlog of treatments caused by the coronavirus lockdown, survey suggests

  • Just one in six doctors have started catching up on backlog caused by lockdown
  • More than 4.2m patients are waiting for hospital treatment and facing delays
  • A survey of over 6,000 doctors found they were not confident the NHS would cope this winter and did not have faith in the Government’s pandemic strategy

Fewer than one in six doctors have started catching up on treatment backlogs caused by the lockdown, a major survey shows.

The British Medical Association research also found that two thirds worry about how they will cope over the winter months amid high levels of stress.

More than 4.2million patients are waiting for hospital treatment, including 111,000 for longer than a year.

But the survey of 6,610 NHS doctors in England, carried out last week, found only 15 per cent had started tackling their lists.

Just one in six doctors have started catching up on treatment backlog caused by lockdown wtih more than 4.2million patients are waiting for hospital treatment (stock image)

It means the lengthy delays causing misery and distress for millions of patients are likely to get even worse over winter.

One in four doctors said they were already seeing more Covid-19 patients than during the first wave as hospital admissions surge in northern England. 

Five in six said they were worried about coping with demand from patients with other health conditions, such as cancer or heart trouble.

Most said they were not confident the NHS would cope this winter and did not have faith in the Government’s pandemic strategy.

A mere 6 per cent of doctors said they believed the approach of dividing England into three ‘tiers’ with different lockdown restrictions would significantly reduce the spread of the virus.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the BMA, said: ‘Doctors know this winter is likely to be one of the most difficult times of their careers.

‘They are extremely worried about the ability for the NHS to cope and their ability to care for the needs of their patients. 

‘Meanwhile there remains a backlog of millions of patients not receiving treatment during the first peak, and with only 15 per cent of doctors reporting that they have started to tackle the backlog, millions are still left waiting to be seen. 

A survey from the British Medical Association of over 6,000 doctors found the majority were not confident the NHS would cope this winter and did not have faith in the Government’s pandemic strategy. Pictured: Clinical staff wear PPE as they care for a patient at the ICU

‘As the waiting lists continue to grow and more and more beds are needed by those with Covid, this second wave could be devastating for patients, the health and social care service and those working in it.’

The BMA is calling for the Government to be ‘honest and realistic with the public about whether the NHS can cope with routine care and Covid care this winter’.

An investigation by the Daily Mail has found that several major hospitals are calling off routine surgery and outpatient appointments as they deal with a surge in virus admissions. 

This may have devastating consequences for the almost two million patients who have waited beyond the 18-week target for routine treatment such as cataract operations or hip and knee surgery.

Stephen Powis, national medical director for NHS England, told the Mail on Saturday he was ‘determined’ that routine services should keep running despite the second wave.

The professor said operations must not be cancelled this winter unless ‘absolutely unavoidable’. 

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