Intended for healthcare professionals


Labour’s pledge to clear NHS waiting list within five years will be tough to achieve, say leaders

BMJ 2024; 385 doi: (Published 29 May 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;385:q1186
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. London

The Labour Party’s general election campaign pledge to clear the backlog of NHS patients waiting more than 18 weeks for treatment within one parliament will be challenging to deliver, experts have said.

While they broadly welcomed the party’s intentions, leading health professional bodies and think tanks insisted that these could be fulfilled only with sufficient funding, staffing numbers, and support for the workforce.

“It will take more than a few new scanners to deliver this promise, and much more engagement with, and recognition of, staff who are leaving the NHS due to poor pay, conditions and exhaustion,” said the BMA’s council chair, Philip Banfield.

Calling for additional funding in NHS capacity, Tim Mitchell, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said, “It is good for all …

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