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Children’s waiting lists increasing at double the rate of adults

Royal College of Surgeons
Joint statement on children’s waiting lists for surgery increasing at double the rate of adults

This statement is realeased in partnership with the RCS, RCPCH, BAPA, BAUS and is available in the press release version at

Joint statement on children’s waiting lists for surgery increasing at double the rate of adults

12 Jul 2023

Whilst much of the initial focus around elective recovery has been on reducing the adult surgical waiting list, we are concerned that children’s waiting lists are now increasing at double the rate of adult lists while surgical activity lags behind adult activity. For children, there can be potential life-long consequences of lengthy delays for surgery.

These consequences not only affect the child and their family but may also affect that child’s ability to contribute in future to the population as a whole, in terms of independence for work and housing.

Many Trusts have looked at how their service for the children’s elective recovery programme can return to pre-pandemic levels, and some have increased their throughput for children.

We would urge all Trusts, supported by their regional Operational Delivery Networks, to review the current situation so that children’s surgery is fully considered within the whole scope of elective recovery. 

Professor Neil Mortensen, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England 

Mr Ian Sugarman, British Association of Paediatric Surgeons

Dr Camilla Kingdon, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH)

Professor Duncan Summerton, President of the British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS)

Dr Simon Courtman, President of the Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (APAGBI)