Hospitals facing a backlog after strict infection control measures were imposed in light of the pandemic
Patients may have to wait up to a year for a hip or knee operation that doctors have warned of, after strict infection control measures mean that hospitals are facing a huge backlog of patients.
Non-emergency surgeries were stopped in mid-March, in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Despite the resumption of these services, hospitals are operating at about half their usual capacity, which means that waiting lists are growing.
However, waiting times for operations are expected to increase further in the coming months, as the NHS has imposed stringent infection control procedures in light of the pandemic, reports the Daily Mail.
These control measures mean that fewer patients are able to attend clinics or stay overnight, while theater cleaning procedures have been stepped up between operations, meaning that the number of operations that can occur has decreased.
Professor Philip Turner, the immediate past president of the British Orthopedics Association, said hospitals are assessing which cases are most urgent for patients awaiting operations.
He said: “It may seem unfair to those who have been on the list the longest and think they are about to join.
“I talked to some who received their letters of admission – now they said ‘no’. But they may not be the ones who need treatment most urgently. “
Professor Turner added that this could mean a delay in a patient’s operation for six months, but he said “I think it could take up to a year”.
The Telegraph previously reported that patients who need a new hip or knee are increasingly in agony for more than a year, as the NHS wait time has increased by 50% in 12 months until February 2020.
Professor Derek Alderson, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said that long delays are a “cause of great concern”.