In August, figures released by the NHS showed a shocking 5.45 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of June, the highest number since records began in 2007. Health Secretary Sajid Javid previously admitted the backlog of patients for the NHS could reach 13 million after the coronavirus pandemic drove up the waiting list.
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, admitted a shortfall in investment could force the overburdened health service to cut services.
He said: “Trust leaders are worried that anything short of £10bn next year will force them to cut services.
“They are worried that, despite best efforts at the frontline, the 13m waiting list they are desperate to avoid will become inevitable.
“And this backlog will take five to seven, not two to three, years to clear.”
Speaking to the Guardian, Mr Taylor insisted anything less than £10billion could directly impact patients.
He added to the outlet: “They worry they won’t be able to provide prompt, high-quality, safe care to all who need it as the pressure we have seen in ambulance trusts and A&E departments this summer will worsen and become more widespread across more of the year.
“They worry that all the advances made on mental health over the last decade could go into reverse.
“And they worry that all the planned improvements in the NHS Long Term Plan in areas like cancer and cardiac care will be put at risk.”
Mr Javid said in July he was “shocked” the NHS waiting list could reach 13 million after officials warned him against lifting all Covid restrictions in England.
He told the Sunday Telegraph: “What shocked me the most is when I was told that the waiting list is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
“It’s gone up from 3.5 million to 5.3 million as of today, and I said to the officials, so what do you mean ‘a lot worse’, thinking maybe it goes from 5.3 million to six million, seven million. They said no, it’s going to go up by millions… it could go as high as 13 million.
“Hearing that figure of 13 million, it has absolutely focused my mind, and it’s going to be one of my top priorities to deal with because we can’t have that.”
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, also told The Guardian the Government must invest more in the NHS after Covid
He added: “The Government has said that we must learn to ‘live with Covid’.
“That means they must fully recognise the extent, length and cost of the impact of Covid-19 on the NHS.”
In response, a Government spokesperson said: “We are committed to making sure the NHS has everything it needs to continue providing excellent care to the public as we tackle the backlogs that have built up during the pandemic.
“This year alone we have already provided a further £29bn to support health and care services, including an extra £1bn to tackle the backlog.”
September 1 saw 35,693 new cases and 207 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test across the UK.
In the week ending August 27, the seven-day average for new cases was at 327.3 per 100,000 people.
In total, the UK has seen 6,825,074 cases and 132,742 deaths from the virus.
Another 38,596 first doses and 117,437 second doses of coronavirus vaccine were administered on Tuesday.
In total, 48,068,605 first doses and 42,908,022 second doses have been administered, equalling 88.5 percent and 78.9 percent of the population over 16 respectively.