Andy Burnham Mayor of Manchester

NHS waiting lists will take two years to recover: Burnham says it is ‘critical moment for Manchester ‘

  • NHS waiting lists will take two years to recover, it is claimed
  • Positive data on double-vaccinations but single dosed people still at risk 
  • Andy Burnham says this is 'critical time' in levelling up the region

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham says recovery in the region will take time but is looking to “level up coming out of the pandemic”.

Mr Burnham was joined by the leader of Manchester City Council and chair of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, Sir Richard Leese, when he presented the latest figures on coronavirus during a press conference.

The number of people waiting to start treatment in the NHS continues to rise and Greater Manchester has been one of the hardest hit areas of the country. 

A new website aimed at cutting waiting lists, and community diagnostics hubs in Royal Oldham and Royal Bolton hospitals, may ease some pressure but waiting lists will take two years to recover, Mr Burnham said.

Vaccination is really having an impact

While the winter season is predicted to be difficult and the health service under strain, there are some positive signs in the most recent data, he added.

The vast majority of cases are represented by children aged 11-15 and they are mostly a-symptomatic.

Cases in care-homes has remained steady over the past three weeks at just over 1 in 200, but Councillor Leese revealed a more positive situation.

“In terms of mortality rates among care-homes they are now pretty much negligible. Vaccination is really having an impact.”

Expanding more generally he shared that 98-99% of all Covid deaths are of unvaccinated people or those who have only recieved a single dose.  

“The impact of double-vaccination has been absolutely enormous on mortality rates – double vaccinated people might get ill but they don’t die.”

Vaccination is particularly important in the 18-49 age range, he said, where only 69% have had a single vaccination and just 61% have been double-vaccinated.

At this stage in the pandemic, this is unlikely to be an issue of access rather one of vaccine hesitancy. 

doses vaccination double-vaccination Greater Manchester Covid Coronavirus Covid-19
Credit: GMCA

Councillor Leese outlined the number of positive cases of Covid, week-by-week over the last four weeks. In all areas of Greater Manchester numbers have increased, with Trafford numbers almost tripling in one month, from 299.7 to 832.6 per 100,000.

Covid, Covid-19, infection rates, Manchester, Burnham, Sir Richard Leese
Credit:  Public Health England

In the over 60’s, the age group who are most likely to place a strain on the health service, Stockport currently has the highest case rate with 256 per 100,000 over a seven-day period.

Covid, Covid-19, infection rates, Manchester, Burnham, Sir Richard Leese
Credit:  Public Health England

Mr Burnham said: “We have been harder hit by coronavirus than other parts of the country and not helped by some of the decisions that were made at a national level.”

He acknowledged that the health service, schools, education, and the economy have all been more disrupted in the region than in other parts of the country.

The mayor, however, remained positive: “We think this is a critical moment for the country as we look to level-up coming out of the pandemic.”