Gynaecology: Waiting Lists

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 27th May 2022.

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Photo of Colleen Fletcher Colleen Fletcher Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of gynaecology waiting lists in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in each of the last three years; and what steps his Department is taking to reduce the size of waiting lists for gynaecology services in those areas.

Photo of Colleen Fletcher Colleen Fletcher Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many gynaecology patients in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England have been waiting for more than a (i) one and (ii) two years for hospital treatment.

Photo of Colleen Fletcher Colleen Fletcher Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of endometriosis patients in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England waiting for elective treatment; what assessment he has made of average waiting times for such patients in those areas; and what steps he is taking to reduce waiting times for endometriosis patients waiting for elective treatment.

Photo of Edward Argar Edward Argar Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

Information on the number of endometriosis patients and waiting times is not collected in the format requested. While the National Health Service collects data on patients awaiting treatment for gynaecological conditions, it does not separately record the specific condition such as endometriosis. There are currently 481,083 patients on gynaecology waiting lists in England, including for endometriosis. The average median waiting time for gynaecological treatment was 14 weeks.

In 2019/20 gynaecology waiting lists remained stable in England with an average of approximately 284,000 patients waiting for treatment each month. In 2020/21, the waiting list increased by more than 40% due to the impact of the pandemic, with a reduction in this growth of 25% in 2021/22. As of March 2022, 26,223 patients had waited one year or more for gynaecology treatment in England, with 797 patients waiting two years or more.

We have invested £520 million to improve access to general practitioners (GP) during the pandemic. This is in addition to £1.5 billion in 2020 to create an additional 50 million GP appointments by 2024, which will improve access for patients with endometriosis.

The ‘Delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care’ outlines how the NHS will reduce waiting times across all elective services. The plan commits to eradicate all waiting times of longer than a year for elective care by March 2025, except in the case of patient choice.

We are providing more than £8 billion over the next three years, in addition to the £2 billion Elective Recovery Fund and £700 million Targeted Investment Fund already available, to increase elective activity. We are also increasing capacity for gynaecological surgery through the Getting It Right First Time ‘High Volume Low Complexity’ programme. In the West Midlands, recovery plans are in place which include demand and capacity modelling. Patients with symptoms of endometriosis will be prioritised based on clinical need. In Coventry and Warwickshire, the local NHS has committed to ensure that no patients will wait more than 104 weeks by the end of June 2022. The NHS-led Provider Collaborative has identified endometriosis as a priority area and recently established a group to develop further initiatives to reduce waiting times for endometriosis patients.

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