Thank you for contacting me about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on people suffering with arthritis. I have read your email carefully, noting the key points that you raise and I would like to commend Versus Arthritis for their important work supporting people that suffer with arthritis and raising awareness of the condition.
I completely agree that we must act urgently to tackle this problem. I welcome that the Government is already working with the NHS to accelerate service recovery: in March 2021, an additional £7 billion of funding was announced for healthcare services, including £1 billion to target backlogs in elective services. As part of the commitment to recovery of non-urgent services and to address elective backlogs, £325 million has been provided for new investment in diagnostics equipment to improve clinical outcomes.
I also know that staff throughout the NHS have been working extremely hard to tackle the backlog: in January and February 2021 NHS staff completed almost 2 million operations and other elective care while also providing treatment to 140,000 COVID-19 patients in England.
However, I agree that there is much more work to be done in this area over the coming months and I would be happy to work with local healthcare organisations to encourage people to seek the care that they need, and to ensure that patients experiencing delays in treatment, including people waiting for joint replacements, have all the support that they need in the meantime.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me about this important matter.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking