One in three miss work due to NHS waiting lists, says survey

A poll by the Lib Dems shows the impact NHS waiting lists are having on the economy.

Man having a doctor's appointment


One in three working adults say they have missed work in the last year while waiting for a medical appointment or treatment on the NHS, according to a poll commissioned by the Liberal Democrats.

The poll shows one in seven (15%) say they have had to take a significant length of time off work as they wait for NHS treatment or surgery for a health condition. Just over one in 10 (12%) have not been able to work while they have been  waiting for an emergency dental appointment.’s annual survey shows NHS and social care waiting lists are having a significant impact on older workers, with many saying that waiting for themselves or a dependent has led to them leaving work or reducing their hours. The survey results will be released this week to mark National Older Workers Week.

Ahead of the Autumn Statement on Wednesday, the Liberal Democrats are warning that treatment backlogs and a shortage of GP appointments are damaging economic growth.

The party is calling on the Government to use the Autumn Statement to invest the extra £13bn that experts estimate he has to spent into the NHS to support the health service through this winter and longer term. The Lib Dems say this includes recruiting 8,000 more GPs, reversing cuts to community healthcare and funding 200 new radiotherapy machines.

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said: “Thousands of people are waiting an appalling length of time to start treatment, with countless more desperately trying to get hold of their GP to no avail.

“Sunak and Hunt’s failure to get a grip on the crisis in our NHS is having a detrimental effect on the entire country. Millions battling health conditions have been left in limbo and our economy is suffering as a result…

“It’s clear that growth is not possible unless we first tackle the ever-growing NHS treatment and GP backlogs that are holding millions of people back and having a devastating impact on quality of life.”

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