More than 350,000 children and young people were waiting to be seen by a consultant as of April 2022, NHS England figures show – 100,000 more than a year ago. Data also shows that more than 12,000 children have been waiting over a year for treatment.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) is calling for enhanced data collection to understand where the backlogs are building up, and where government, the NHS and others should direct resources.
Further figures show the size of the waiting list is growing more rapidly, with a rise of 50,000 between November 2021 and April 2022. Half of all children are waiting more than 12 weeks for treatment, and just 65.4% were seen within 18 weeks (the NHS target is 92%). The average waiting time for children and young people is now nearly three months, with high regional variation.
Half of all children are waiting more than 12 weeks for treatment, and just 65.4% were seen within 18 weeks
RCPCH president Dr Camilla Kingdon said: ‘Many treatments need to be given by a specific age or developmental stage. It is not the same as for adults. If you miss the right window to treat a child or wait too long, the consequences can be irrevocable.’
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