ONE YEAR hospital waits five fold higher in England than in Scotland and surging in England

The Herald is reporting today that, according to Public Health Scotland (PHS) in December 2022, there were 6,856 inpatient/day case patients waiting who had waited longer than 104 weeks and that according to the IFS, in England, the figure was only 2 200.

England has 10 times the population but far less waiting for more than 2 years? Two years waits are ‘five fold higher’ in Scotland than in England?

Here’s the IFS statement:

The recovery plan included the ambition that the NHS would eliminate waits of more than two years for treatment by July 2022. This has largely been achieved – the number of people waiting for more than two years fell from 23,300 in February 2022 to 2,200 in September 2022, a reduction of 90.4%. By November 2022, the (estimated) number waiting more than two years had further fallen to 1,400, a 93.9% reduction compared with February 2022. 

A 93.9% improvement in one year! I’m going to not believe the English data, one reason below, but first and regardless, I have a better response based on the same two sources.

The IFS also wrote:

However, the numbers in other target groups – for whom the deadlines are further into the future – have continued to grow. In fact, the total number of people waiting more than a year for treatment has risen from 300,000 in February 2022 to 410,000 in November 2022, an increase of 35.8% 

From PHS in December 2022, 7,907 patients had waited over 52 weeks before being admitted.

You know the arithmetic. England has 10 times the population so, all things being equal, should have had around 80 000 waiting over a year. They had 410 000, 5 times as many.

Why don’t I believe the English data?

You cannot trust these heavily market-oriented boards.

See this on A&E times from a UK Parliamentary investigation:

In A&E, this waiting game has been widely underestimated. The number of patients waiting 12 hours or more in A&E is around five times higher than the number most regularly used. The data published monthly on waiting times exceeding 12 hours does not reflect the patient experience because the clock only starts when a clinician has made the decision to admit a patient to hospital, rather than when that patient entered A&E. This was described to us as “a fundamentally dishonest way of reporting data”. To demonstrate, in August 2022, 133,286 people waited in A&E for over 12 hours. Of these, over 100,000 were not reflected in the data published monthly



8 thoughts on “ONE YEAR hospital waits five fold higher in England than in Scotland and surging in England

  1. Applying the principle of charity and accepting that the 93%+ reduction has been achieved by English health trusts, then it would be very helpful to the other nations of the UK, if the Herald were to publish an article describing how this was achieved.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. May the answer not be in John’s information?
      Allow me to be a little more charitable than John and accept their 2 year figure is right. However John also quotes the “surge” in waiting more than a year.
      Could it be that what they are doing is prioritising those who have waited two or more years, but at the expense of those waiting less time than this (even if more than a year). This would not be a clinical judgement (though I don’t doubt the difficulties of having to wait 2+ years for anything), but rather is motivated by the list for a headline.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. As previously, that initial drop of 20,800 from February to September would be 2,971 patients treated per month, even if you ignored those who had transitioned over the 2 year mark since February – During an acute staffing crisis ?
    Then look to the drop of 800 from September to November, that’s 400 per month…
    There some “inventive accountancy” going on here…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Perhaps cynically I’m wondering why these figures didn’t give the IFS pause, clearly it’s laudable that at last these patients were receiving the treatment they required but you have to wonder why these patients ended up waiting 2yrs +.
    I would hazard a guess that they were not suffering from life threatening ailments and clinicians with surgeons, theatre staff, theatre’s and bed availability severely hampered by budget cuts would be forced to use that availability to treat those with the most urgent need. It may perhaps then be concluded that those waiting 2yrs + were for the most part in the minor surgery category, which then explains why those monthly figures were achieved. Have I just answered my own question?
    If indeed I’m correct then we are seeing the same mindset at play, prominent, during the pandemic, where numbers of vaccinations achieved were prioritised over where they were most needed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If indeed they were “fully treated”, and remember the Tories have form on “interpretation” then distancing themselves from accountability, as indeed have IFS historically.
      Yet consider the data flow NHS Trusts -> PHSE -> HMG
      Instead the data flow went NHS Trusts -> PHSE -> HMG -> Tufton Street…

      What @iamsoccerdoc highlighted as possible reason was a shift on priorities such that that 2yrs+ were prioritised over those under that threshold, which I disputed as not credible, England’s Trusts could not possibly solve 2,971 patients with more serious problems a month during an NHS meltdown

      Only after that did it occur to me, why didn’t they finish the job and have a smug Barclay bouncing around the commons inviting “hurrah” in November 2022, late yet still achieving the target of none waiting more than 2 years – It’s not as if Tories are famed for hiding their few successes. Nope, it was farmed to Tufton Street’s IFS.

      The answer lay in the numbers over the same period of 9 months from February to November 2022 – Those awaiting more serious treatment had risen by 110,000, viz 12,200 a month on top of the 2,971 they headline as “treated”.

      England’s NHS is in deep shit and all they have to fall back on is the McArdle and Tufton Street nonsense to convince Scots we’re no better off, aided and abetted by BBC Scotland with “Analysis” by Lazy Winters , “Disaster” Gulhane and “Tsunami” Baillie.


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