Commenting on the Elective Recovery Plan announced today by the government Morgan Vine, Head of Policy and Influencing at Independent Age, said:
“It’s good to see the long-awaited Elective Care Recovery Plan for tackling the record waiting list backlog. The new polices set out should help alleviate some of the unprecedented strain on the NHS, but even with the best will in the world the reality is that many people in later life may end up waiting years for surgery until the middle of the decade.
“Offering patients waiting a long time more choice is a promising step, but more needs to be done to stop older people experiencing a deterioration in their quality of life while they wait. We’ve heard from many people who have not been offered any support despite spending months and years on the waiting list. Day by day their conditions get worse, the pain becomes unbearable and some lose all confidence to leave their house. This plan offers little in the way of solace for them.
“While the plan is limited, measures to increase capacity and tackle the inequalities for older patients on low incomes are welcome. But new facilities and targets won’t matter if there aren’t the staff to deliver the surgery and support people need. To make this a reality, there needs to be further investment and a clear strategy to ensure the NHS workforce is available and able to provide older patients with all the care they need, whether that be physiotherapy, pain management or staying fit for surgery.”