As a result of the second surge in COVID-19 infections in January, the NHS waiting list for routine treatments has reached an all-time high. Key services including cancer treatments and routine surgery have been affected.
The waiting list has now hit a record high of 4.6m after less than half of the expected number of operations were performed. In January 2021, over 300,000 people had been waiting for more than a year for treatment, compared to just 1,600 a year before.
Many surgeons have described this as a “dire situation” that will take a very long time to recover from.
What does this mean for weight loss surgery?
As lists get longer, thousands of people will be waiting in limbo for an appointment whilst experiencing severe pain and discomfort. We already know that waiting lists for bariatric surgery whether it’s a gastric band, gastric bypass or gastric sleeve, on the NHS have been getting longer almost every year, and as the NHS list of priorities continues to shift to emergency care, people will be waiting even longer.
In February, the NHS added a further 1.7million people to the shielding list for COVID-19 and expanded the priority groups for the vaccine. The priority list has been based on several factors including age, BMI, medical conditions and ethnicity. The UK may be leading the way in rolling out the vaccine, but the damage done by the pandemic will take years to turnaround.
Weight loss surgery remains the best long-term treatment for obesity, especially for groups with a BMI above 40. However, it is becoming less and less likely that you will be offered weight loss surgery on the NHS. Your chances were already very slim, but the aftershock of the pandemic will likely make eligibility criteria even stricter.
If you’re struggling to take control of your weight but are feeling anxious about growing waiting lists on the NHS, why not skip the queue with Healthier Weight? Our specialist team are here to help you find the surgical or non-surgical solution that’s right for you. Fill in the form below to get your quote.