NHS waiting times for children is an unacceptable crisis

We cannot allow our young people to be failed by a system that is supposed to protect them, writes Dr Camilla Kingdon

Thursday 11 May 2023 14:48 BST
It's an extremely disheartening time to be a paediatrician
It's an extremely disheartening time to be a paediatrician (PA Wire)

When the pandemic hit in 2020, we found ourselves having to adapt in ways that had never been asked of us previously. It was a monumental shift in how we lived our lives and how we, as healthcare professionals, delivered care.

During the first Covid-19 lockdown much of the child health workforce was redistributed, with almost half (46 per cent) of the community child health workforce redeployed to adult care, as well as up to 22 per cent of wider paediatric staff. Many key services such as health visiting and children’s community nursing, including complex care at home, were paused altogether. Children’s health and wellbeing took a backseat during this difficult period.

We always knew that post-pandemic recovery was going to be a challenge, but we did not anticipate a continued deprioritisation of children’s health and services. The latest data shows that over 400,000 children are now waiting for treatment – enough children to fill Wembley stadium four times over.

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