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Responding to the Labour party’s plans to bring down the NHS waiting list, Kathryn Marszalek, Senior Analytical Manager at the Health Foundation, said:

'Tackling the hospital waiting list, which is currently 7.5 million and has been building over many years, has to be a key priority for the next government.  

‘Labour’s plans to clear the waiting list backlog within five years are welcome but rely on several factors if they are to be achieved. In particular, our recent analysis of waiting list trends highlighted how much uncertainty there is, including whether referrals for treatment bounce back to the levels we had anticipated as part of the post pandemic recovery. If they do, then the task of tackling the waiting list could become much harder. 

‘With NHS staff overstretched and exhausted and the ongoing strains on services, a focus on tackling waiting lists through more weekend and evening working must not come at a cost to staff wellbeing. Bringing an end to ongoing industrial disputes will also have to be key to Labour’s plans.  

‘Pressures are being felt right across the health system - not only are there near-record waiting lists for hospital treatment, lives are being lost due to the strain on urgent and emergency services and people are struggling to see their GP. 

‘It is absolutely critical that the next government provide stable, long-term investment to meet the high demand for both hospital and primary care. Investment will also be needed to provide capital investment to transform the NHS into a 21st century service, replacing outdated equipment and crumbling buildings with new technology and infrastructure.’ 

Notes to editors

Media contact
Creina Lilburne
020 7664 4647 

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