Over 50 new surgical centers to help ‘clear’ COVID backlog, says minister |  UK News

Over 50 new surgical centers to help ‘clear’ COVID backlog, says minister | UK News

Over 50 new surgical centers to help ‘clear’ COVID backlog, says minister |  UK News

More than 50 new surgical centers will open across England to help “clear” COVID backlogs, Health Secretary Steve Barclay has said.

The new centers will provide at least 100 additional operating theaters and 1,000 additional beds, with the goal of performing nearly two million additional routine operations over the next three years, he added.

Beds will be allocated for scheduled operations, which the government hopes will reduce the risk of cancellations at short notice.

The announcement comes as the government is under pressure to tackle the backlog, following major disruptions to the NHS during the pandemic which led to the cancellation of operations and delays in treatment.

Mr Barclay said: “In order to reduce COVID backlogs and keep pace with future demands, we cannot just carry on as business as usual.”

The new surgical centers will primarily focus on delivering high-volume, low-complexity surgeries, such as cataract surgeries and hip replacements, and will be located on existing hospital sites.

Currently 91 surgical hubs have already been opened, meaning that in total over 140 hubs will be open across England by 2024/25.

Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of the NHS, described surgical centers as “a vital part of elective service recovery plans across England”.

NHS data from earlier this month has been revealed significant delays in routine hospital treatmentthe number of people waiting for them to start in England reaching an all-time high.

A total of 6.7 million people waited to start treatment at the end of June, up from 6.6 million in May and the highest number since records began in August 2007.

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Health Sec confronted on ambulance times

However, NHS England said the number of people waiting two or more years for treatment has been significantly reduced as part of its backlog clearance plan.

Despite this, the number of people waiting for more than a year, in May, was more than 330,000, compared to 1,613 in February 2020, before the pandemic.

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The government has also been criticized for its handling of long wait times for ambulances. NHS data earlier this month revealed that ambulances took almost an hour on average to respond to emergency calls in England last month.

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