While the National Health Service (NHS) provides vital and essential healthcare across the UK, it faces severe restraints in budgeting and resourcing, leading to significant wait times across the country.
Recent data revealed that 13,867 individuals in Leicester are currently on the NHS waiting list for gastroenterology GP appointments. On average, the data shows that patients across Leicestershire are waiting 18.5 weeks for an appointment.
Gastroenterology refers to problems with the digestive system, including organs such as the stomach, intestines, liver, and pancreas. Gastroenterologists typically diagnose and treat conditions like acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases, and celiac disease. While some of these gastroenterology appointments can be routine, others are crucial for detecting issues like ulcers and colorectal cancer.
At eternalbeing, we wanted to investigate further into the data to find out how the wait times are impacting those waiting for a Gastroenterology appointment, and how gut health specialists can alleviate some of the pressure on the NHS by offering patients alternative care.
The data, analysed by Michelle from the NHS waiting list tracker, outlines the number of people waiting for an appointment for Gastroenterology. Our research has found across the three areas of Leicestershire, there are 13,867 people waiting for an appointment.
The data also identified approximately 7,107 people in total waiting more than 18 weeks for an appointment in Leicestershire for gastroenterology.
Within Leicestershire, Leicester City currently has the highest number of people waiting more than 18 weeks for an appointment, with 2,716 people waiting. This could be due to the additional demand within the area, with the waiting list increasing by 222% since June 2018. In total, there are 4,973 people waiting for an appointment in this area.
In West Leicestershire, there is a total of 4,849 people waiting for a gastroenterology appointment. This has increased by 246% since June 2018, demonstrating the additional strain the NHS is facing.
Across England, there are currently 388,244 patients waiting for a gastroenterology appointment. This is an increase of 92.7% since June 2018. In England, we see there are 165, 935 individuals waiting more than 18 weeks to see a GP in this area.
The number of patients across England waiting more than 18 weeks for a gastroenterology appointment has increased by 22% since this time last year, demonstrating the increasing waiting times within the NHS.
In today’s evolving healthcare landscape, the collaboration between gut health specialists in the private sector and the NHS presents a promising avenue to address the issue of patient backlogs. The private healthcare sector, renowned for its ability to offer personalised care and timely attention, serves as a crucial ally in the efforts to minimise waiting times and provide patients with a range of choices.
Gut health specialists, such as eternalbeing, can step in to offer expertise on gastroenterology to alleviate the strain on the public healthcare system. This collaboration supports optimising resource allocation and enhancing the efficiency of the healthcare sector as a whole.
Michelle Geraghty-Corns, Founder of eternalbeing, explains: “Patients now have the option to choose between the convenience and flexibility of private services or the established routes of NHS care.
“Private appointments with gut health specialists not only ensure prompt consultations but also allow for more extensive and dedicated interactions between patients and healthcare providers. This personalised approach empowers patients to make informed decisions about their well-being and treatment plans.
To conduct our research for this campaign, we analysed NHS England data using the NHS Waiting Times Tracker, with the most recent dataset published in June 2023 at the time of writing.