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MTG supports call for national plan to address postcode lottery

The Medical Technology Group is backing calls by the Public Accounts Committee in its report ‘NHS backlogs and waiting times in England’ for a national plan to address the stark regional variation in patient access to NHS treatment.

The MTG submitted evidence on regional variation to the PAC’s Inquiry; the resulting report highlights that in September 2021, ‘patients in the worst-performing geographic areas were more than twice as likely as patients in the best-performing areas to have been waiting over 18 weeks for elective care or more than 62 days for cancer treatment following an urgent referral’.

MTG Chair, Barbara Harpham, said: “We were delighted to see the Government commit significant funding towards the elective care recovery plan last month. However, the report by the Public Accounts Committee, reminds us of the harsh reality that patients across England face when trying to access elective treatment. Unfortunately, it is still a case of  “not what you need, but where you live” that matters.

“This postcode lottery long predates the Covid pandemic and the MTG has been working to highlight this since 2019 through its Ration Watch campaign. The additional funding promised in last month’s elective care recovery plan, alongside a credible workforce strategy, now provides an opportunity to really make a difference to the problem. But as stated in the report, a national plan is urgently needed to coordinate an effective response to the longstanding and systemic problem of the NHS lottery postcode.

“Directing additional financial support and human resources to those regions, as the report recommends, could mean improved outcomes for thousands of patients in areas that lag behind the delivery of care in the rest of the country.

“We now welcome further dialogue with NHS England and the Public Accounts Committee to ensure our work on Ration Watch can inform the contents and direction of a national plan aimed at delivering the best of the NHS for all.”

She added: “Better equality of access to life changing and life enhancing treatments has huge potential to deliver long term benefits to patients, society and the economy.”

March 2022

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