As many as 1.5 million people on the elective care waiting list are believed to be on the list multiple times, bringing the estimated total down to 5.5 million, NHS England has revealed.
Official figures show that the backlog for elective care stood at 7 million people as of August 2022, with the median wait reaching 13.8 months.
However, speaking at The King’s Fund annual conference, NHSE elective recovery chief Sir Jim Mackey said the list actually consists of ‘5.5 million people’ but with ‘7 million entries on the waiting list’.
NHS England believe this is because around 1.5 million people appearing on the list ‘multiple times’, HSJ reported.
Sir Jim added that it was unclear how many on the list are patients waiting for distinct procedures and how many were duplicates on the same pathway.
He said: ‘Sometimes there are people on twice, where they need one thing then another thing. Other times it’s a bit more complicated… We’re just about to start a process with a handful of organisations to try and work out what that means.’
In September, the Government warned that NHS waiting lists may not start reducing until March 2024 because patients delayed seeking care in the pandemic.
A joint report by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published in September said that an estimated 10 million patients have not come forward for treatment during the pandemic.