Commenting on the My Planned Care Platform announced today by NHS England, Morgan Vine, Head of Policy and Influencing at Independent Age, said:
“For too long, many older people have suffered pain, anxiety and uncertainty as they face excessively long waits for surgery. The fact that the government is taking action to support those waiting is welcome, but we are disappointed that plans to address the unprecedented backlog continue to be delayed.
“It’s crucial that plans are put in place to stop those already waiting from deteriorating further. The My Planned Care Platform is a step in the right direction but falls short of what older patients need, especially for those who are not currently online.
“Our recent research found that half of older people waiting for surgery are in daily pain and have difficulty with day-to-day activities such as going to the toilet or preparing a meal. Generic information on diet and exercise isn’t enough, we need to see more tailored support including action to increase access to services like physiotherapy and pain management.
“The introduction of personalised plans, created with clinicians, is something older people have been telling us they need. It is important that these are initiated at an early stage in the waiting period to enable patients to get the care they need and prepare for what might remain a lengthy wait.
“To make this a reality, there needs to be further investment and a clear strategy to ensure the NHS workforce are available, and able, to provide older patients with all the care they need.
“Today’s delay will mean more people are uncertain what their future holds, with many facing a lack of dignity and choice. It is essential that tackling the record numbers of people waiting for surgery remains an urgent priority for the government.”