NHS bosses in England have asked hospitals to offer staff more overtime and have asked retired employees to return to work, with the purpose of tackling NHS waiting lists. A letter sent by NHS England dated 5 May 2022 to Hospitals, explains that the waiting list backlog had grown during the pandemic and would require “a number of high impact actions” to resolve it.
What is being done?
Hospitals are being urged to adopt innovation to solve the issues. One of the main issues is that more than six million people are on waiting lists for treatments such as knee and hip surgery. NHS England National Clinical Director Stella Vig said:
“Our staff are our greatest asset in tackling the COVID-19 backlog. It is essential we continue to support our colleagues, harness their collective skill and draw on their ideas to improve things for patients.”
According to the General Medical Council (“GMC”) 21,000 doctors are set to retire in September 2022. The current NHS England plan is to lure and tempt some of these back by offering part time opportunities to train students, run virtual consultations, and help with follow up check-ups. Additionally, NHS England are set to introduce the following measures to help tackle the backlog.
- Removing caps on consultant hours.
- Increasing the use of NHS reservists, who are members of the public who have signed up to work for the NHS for at least 30 days a year.
- Removing simple procedures such as cataract surgery out of operating theatres into other areas of the hospital.
All of these measures are aiming to reduce the COVID-19 backlog and address this growing concern.