Health secretary Sajid Javid

Surgical hubs, new technology and innovative ways of working will help the NHS to tackle long waiting lists and treat around 30 per cent more elective care patients by 2023-24.

The recently announced funding of £36 billion for health and social care over the next three years and embracing innovation will be key drivers to get the NHS back on track.

The investment will enable the NHS deliver an extra 9 million checks, scans, and operations for patients across the country along with faster and more streamlined methods of treatments.

Surgical hubs that are being piloted in various locations, including London, are helping fast-track planned operations, such as cataract removal, hysterectomies and hip and knee replacements.

This service will be expanded across the country in the coming year.

Located on existing hospital sites, surgical hubs provide a mix of skills and resource under one roof while limiting infection risk in a Covid-19 secure environment.

Health secretary Sajid Javid said: “This global pandemic has presented enormous challenges for the NHS and led to a growing backlog – we cannot go on with business as usual.

“We are going to harness the latest technology and innovative new ways of working such as surgical hubs to deliver the millions more appointments, treatments and surgeries that are needed over the coming months and years to tackle waiting lists.”

A record 5.5 million people are currently waiting for non-urgent treatment and surgery, and around seven million patients in England have delayed their treatment during the pandemic.

The waiting list could potentially reach 13 million by the end of the year if left unchecked.

Professor Steve Powis, NHS England medical director, said: “…the NHS has already made effective use of additional resources to recover services –– from adopting the latest technologies to more evening and weekend working, NHS staff are going to great lengths to increase the number of operations carried out.”

The NHS has been trying a range of new ways of working, which includes setting up pop-up clinics to treat patients quickly, in person, and closer to home, as well as virtual wards, freeing up beds in hospitals.

Besides, GP surgeries are using Artificial Intelligence to help prioritise patients most in need and identify the right level of care and support needed for patients on waiting lists.

With an additional funding of £5.4 billion over the next 6 months for NHS, it will support its response to Covid-19. This includes an extra £1 billion to help tackle the Covid backlog.

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