Not only are many at breaking point, but more than half of doctors across Yorkshire are concerned about how the inevitable increase in waiting times will impact on the wider health of their patients.
According to the British Medical Association, 60.9 per cent of the region’s doctors fear it will take more than a year to clear the backlog of elective care.
Worryingly, the same survey shows 53.8 per cent of members have also not been engaged by local health leaders to help plan the recovery of services.
This does cause concern – the NHS, just like the rest of the country, is going to have to live and work with Covid for the foreseeable future and delays in, for example, the treatment of cancer, and other debilitating conditions, will only add to the burden facing hospitals and the ordeal confronting the more seriously ill.
That is why it is imperative that NHS leaders in the region heed today’s warning and start working with the BMA, and others, to put in place plans to tackle the care backlog.
But there’s one other issue that also needs to be addressed – the accessibility of GPs to their patients. While some medical practices have adapted to the pandemic, and maintained the quality of care expected of them, many others have not – and the worry is that many individuals are actually being deterred from coming forward with potentially serious ailments.
This, too, needs to be addressed. For, only when all GPs consent to seeing their patients again, will it be possible to make an accurate assessment about the state of the NHS – and what needs to be done to ensure that the concerns that BMA members have raised about the welfare of patients are remedied as soon as practically possible.