RECORD NHS waiting lists may still double as millions of Brits who delayed seeking help during the Covid crisis finally come forward.
More than 1.5 million operations were cancelled or postponed during 2020, but that is expected to rise to a whopping 2.5 million by the end of 2021.
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Hospitals are being told to brace for up to 12.2 million people in need of elective procedures which include hip, knee and eye operations.
And for the first time since records began, patients are waiting more than two years for hospital treatment.
Research suggests a further 2.4 million operations will have been cancelled by the end of 2021.
The British Heart Foundation says 230,278 people in the UK are waiting for invasive heart procedures and heart operations.
Around 3 million people missed out on cancer screenings during the pandemic including Corrie star Kym Marsh’s beloved dad who’s now fighting for his life after undiagnosed prostate cancer spread to his pelvis, spine, ribs and legs.
The emotional star filmed a video for the BBC with her terminally ill dad and explained “Dad knew something wasn’t right but he felt he couldn’t go to the GP during that time [the coronavirus pandemic] so it got left.”
Mum of four Kym implored others to get their health checked and not ignore symptoms.
She said: "It’s vital people start to get their wider health checked out and looked after once again.”
Pat Price from Imperial College London and co-founder of CatchUpWithCancer added: "The delays to cancer patients are an unmitigated disaster.
"Thousands of cancer patients are likely to die unnecessarily.
"It doesn’t have to be this way – we need serious investment and a proper national plan, now."
An NHS spokesperson said: “While some people had concerns with coming forward for care, operations and other routine care are ahead of ambitions set out in April with mental health and cancer services already back at pre-pandemic levels.
“The NHS is supporting hospitals with an extra £1 billion to restore care to usual levels and our message remains – please help us to help you by coming forward and getting the care you may need.”
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