This is the first of two stories about the corrosive backlog built up through coronavirus and its implications for amongst other places, rural communities. It tells us:
Thousands of people with heart problems could die over the next few years due to increasingly long delays in NHS care, ministers have been warned.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) fears that those needing treatment for heart attacks and stroke, diagnostic tests and potentially life-saving surgery could lose their lives while they wait.
The first year of Covid-19 brought 5,800 “excess” deaths from heart and circulatory conditions after many NHS services were suspended as hospitals focused on the pandemic. The BHF voiced alarm on Monday that long waits to receive hospital care could see that death toll rise even higher.
“Without immediate intervention there is a risk that thousands more people could die from heart and circulatory diseases, despite the NHS going above and beyond during the pandemic,” the BHS said.
Its findings come a day after the Institute for Fiscal Studies forecast that the number of people on the waiting list for all types of hospital treatment in England could top 15 million by 2025 – almost three times the current total of 5.3 million.
A new report from the BHF, The Untold Heartbreak, documents the impact on the health of patients with heart conditions of procedures being cancelled and appointments getting scrapped.