Monday, 07 February 2022 17:39

Former UK minister trashes Covid backlog

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced new ?tough targets? in an effort to tackle record hospital waiting lists in England

Record NHS waiting lists in England are creating "more agony and pain for NHS patients" every moment they exist, the parliamentary health and social care committee chair, Jeremy Hunt, told the BBC on Monday. Hunt, who served as the UK health secretary and now heads the Commons committee, claimed there seems "to be a Whitehall hold-up" in addressing the significant delays in providing treatment.

The concern voiced by Hunt comes on the same day that "tough targets" were outlined by the UK prime minister in a bid to address existing NHS waiting lists in England.

During a visit to a hospital on Monday, Boris Johnson announced that the government is "now working with the NHS to set some tough targets so that we are able to deliver for patients and also for the taxpayer."

Citing how more money has been allotted by the government into the health service and staff recruitment as some of the steps being taken to address patient delays, Johnson said further details are to be set out by Health Secretary Sajid Javid later this week.

In January, the number of people on a hospital waiting list in England hit a record six million, with more than 300,000 patients having waited more than a year for treatment.

Treatment delays were heavily exacerbated by the Covid pandemic, after routine surgery and medical procedures were suspended to allow the NHS to divert resources to fighting Covid-19.