I suspect the problem is, unfortunately, not only as a result of the many cuts to the NHS, but also the fact that there is a shortage of medical professionals, which is, apparently worsening due to the quantity of EU doctors and nurses who have left the UK in the last year.
Unfortunately the attraction of this policy as a cost saving exercise misses the point that maintaining the mobility of the middle-aged and elderly is an important way to prevent obesity, diabetes, strokes etc. and to keep people fit, and thus less of a drain on NHS resources. And round and round we go!
Not that many years ago the waiting list was more like 18mths so we have had much improvement, that doesn't get away from the fact that we now appear to be going backwards and no one wants it but is there an alternative? I'm sure I don't know what it is and it looks like no one in charge knows either other than taking a backward step. I think the 18 wk target has been slipping backwards for some time, I have been waiting since mid August for a date for my Hip-Replacement surgery which I was told today will hopefully be carried out on June 12th, 10 months and many weeks over the target. I was quite prepared for a long wait and once I knew I was on the waiting list and could see a light at the end of the tunnel it was easier to accept the waiting.
I just feel that the amount of money just isn't enough for all the extra drain on the resources but what the answer is I have no idea.
As a result of the loss of the 18 week target for non-urgent surgery, IMO older people will suffer disproportionately. The number of knee, hip and cataract operations will be slashed and people will be waiting much longer for their operation. Whilst waiting, some will endure pain, all will have a reduced quality of life, reduced independence and so on. I wonder what sort of outcry we might expect or what outcry we may make ourselves? Or should we just accept it as there will be more money for cancer treatment and better A and E care?