The Current Waiting list for Laparoscopic Surgery

The Current Waiting Lists for Laparoscopic Surgery Post Pandemic

The Covid-19 Pandemic has not just caused problems with deaths from the virus around the world and here in the UK but it has also caused problems when it comes to accessing other forms of treatments.

As hospitals switched their focus to dealing with Covid-19 patients, it meant that wards were full of patients and specialists were being repositioned within hospitals in order to help manage the increasing number of Covid-19 patients. This had a knock-on effect when it came to other procedures such as Laparoscopic Surgery.

Waiting lists were already relatively extensive but the pandemic had caused them to increase considerably which meant that people had to wait longer to receive the treatment that they required. In general, the NHS states that there is a waiting time of around 18 weeks for non-urgent surgical procedures but the pandemic has clearly impacted these times.

Prior to the pandemic, these kinds of procedures would have been managed and carried out under the usual waiting times which would have been a matter of months but now things have changed considerably for patients. Those people who were on the waiting lists prior to the pandemic would have more than likely have had their laparoscopic surgery delayed but during the time of the pandemic, more people would have visited their GP with issues, only to be added to the list themselves. This has meant that not only have waiting times increased as a result of the pandemic but the size of the waiting list has increased and that means even more waiting for patients, especially when urgency is taken into consideration, which could see certain patients have the surgery before others.

As of April this year, it was found that 4.7 million people were still waiting to start treatment. This is the highest figure seen since 2007, when records were started. To break down these figures, there are around 387,885 patients currently waiting more than 12 months to receive treatment, a figure that was just 224,205 in December 2020, proving just how much of an impact the pandemic has had on waiting times [1]. In some instances, some patients are being told that they will have to wait for as long as two years for laparoscopic surgery.

As waiting lists have increased, it has meant that the NHS has had to implement a £160 million initiative as a way of dealing with the growing waiting lists. As it currently stands, operations and other elective activity is already at 80% of what they were prior to the pandemic which is about the 70% threshold as identified in official guidance. Despite this, the NHS still wants to speed up the recovery by adopting new ways of working. The £160 million will be utilised to enhance the capacity for diagnostics while it will also be used to create virtual wards and home assessments as well as at-home antibiotic kits for patients about to undergo surgery. The overall goal is to exceed the same number of tests and treatments that took place prior to the pandemic.

There are signs of improvement as data suggests that services are starting to recover a lot quicker than they did during the first wave. During the first two months of this year, the NHS delivered almost 2 million operations while still dealing with covid patients. So, the UK is making great progress in rolling out the vaccines and that will mean that hospitals will soon be able to make a greater impact on waiting list times