NHS chiefs have warned that patients “are genuinely in peril” and the public’s health outcomes is in the hands of the government as there is a “crucial” spending review coming up.
The NHS backlog could reach as high as 13m people which will take seven years to clear unless the government provides £10bn every year.
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, has strongly urged Ministers to wake up to the “seismic impact” of the virus.
He warned that this “is unlike anything the service has experienced in its 73-year history.”
He added, “The government has said that we must learn to ‘live with Covid.’
“That means they must fully recognise the extent, length and cost of the impact of Covid-19 on the NHS.”
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said, “NHS frontline funding for 2022/23 needs to rise by around £10bn in addition to capital, social care and central Government Covid costs.
“Trust leaders are worried that anything short of £10bn next year will force them to cut services.
“They are worried that, despite best efforts at the frontline, the 13m waiting list they are desperate to avoid will become inevitable.
“And this backlog will take five to seven, not two to three, years to clear.”
In a joint statement Taylor and Hopson said, “Patients genuinely are at peril.
“The government has to demonstrate that the NHS is safe in its hands.
“Frontline NHS leaders cannot stand idly by if they are forced to cut services, putting patients at risk.”
A government spokesperson said, “We are committed to making sure the NHS has everything it needs to continue providing excellent care to the public as we tackle the backlogs that have built up during the pandemic.
“This year alone we have already provided a further £29bn to support health and care services, including an extra £1bn to tackle the backlog.
“This is on top of our historic settlement for the NHS in 2018, which will see its budget rise by £33.9bn by 2023/24.”