Increased waiting times for non-urgent operations a "body blow" for older patients

Friday 31 March 2017

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said he expects waiting times to rise slightly as a "trade off" for improvement in other areas, such as hitting the four-hour A&E target and better cancer care.*

Longer waits can be expected for pre-planned operations, which include things like hip and knee replacements, cataract removal, hernia operations and laparoscopies.

Saga’s director of communications Paul Green commented:

“Whilst setting out a plan to improve aspects of care such as cancer treatments is welcomed, today’s announcement from the Chief Executive of the NHS that waiting times for pre-planned operations such as hip and knee replacements, cataract removal and hernia operations are set to get longer will come as a body blow to many older people. Waiting for an operation can be really distressing and we know that the over 50s lead active lives so remaining mobile is fundamental for their mental as well as their physical wellbeing.

“Back in 2011 more than a third of over 50s – heavy users of NHS services - said that they expected the NHS to get worse within 5 years** despite the government reforms announced back then. And here we are in 2017 with the knowledge that the NHS has not hit its waiting time targets since February 2016.

“The NHS needs to find solutions to its problems without trading one aspect of its service off against another. It should not be a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul as someone always loses in that scenario.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

*Press Association 31st March 2017

**Saga Populus poll interviewed 11,279 Saga customers, all aged 50+ online between 17th and 23rd June 2011. 39% said they expected to the NHS to get worse in the next 5 years. 

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