10th February 2022

Elective Trauma and Orthopaedic (T&O) surgery once again topped the waiting list data released by NHS England and Improvement today.  These long waits are for a variety of different surgeries, such as children waiting for life-changing surgery to allow them to live more normal lives to adults awaiting hip and knee replacements to alleviate constant pain.

The waiting list figures released today reflect the situation at 31st December 2021 and reveal the sheer scale of the devastating impact on patients continually waiting for surgery:

•    Total T&O waiting list: 700,888– The largest total waiting list for over a decade.
•    60,028 T&O patients have been waiting over a year – compared to just 436 in Jan 2020.
•    290,757 T&O patients waiting over 18 weeks

Professor John Skinner, President of the British Orthopaedic Association said: 

“T&O patients continue to make up a significant proportion of those on waiting lists. 60,000 are waiting over 52 weeks, a 21% increase on last year, and the numbers over 104 weeks continues to rise. These figures reinforce the need to move quickly to implement the recovery plan and prioritise patients waiting for their much-needed surgery.  
“Prolonged waiting has a significant impact on patient’s mental and physical health. Patients in severe pain lose mobility and independence, their health deteriorates, they are unable to work, require more GP support and increasingly rely on stronger and stronger pain killers. 
“Surgical hubs are vital for delivering reliable year-round services to eliminate these enormous waiting lists. We are pleased to see this reflected in the long-awaited recovery plan but any plan will need the nurses, trainees, surgeons, anaesthetists, and all the associated staff that enables surgery to happen. 
“We look forward to the government setting out with greater clarity what the plan will mean for both finance and workforce to allow hospitals to respond and plan effectively.”

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About the BOA

The BOA is the General Medical Council recognised specialty association for trauma and orthopaedic surgery. The organisation celebrated its 100 year anniversary in 2018 and currently has over 5,000 members.  The BOA's principal objectives are excellence in trauma and orthopaedic surgical practice, training, education and research. With the mission of ‘Caring for Patients, Supporting Surgeons’ we work with our members to deliver excellence in surgical care and restore pain free mobility.

Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery is a highly cost effective form of treatment. By restoring mobility, Trauma and Orthopaedic surgery can not only help people stay active for longer, but deliver major economic savings; enabling people to return to work, or live more independently.

Given the growing musculoskeletal disease burden, and the transformative impact surgery can have for the right patients, the BOA believes surgeons, commissioners and colleagues across the NHS should work together to increase surgical capacity.