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Children face a postcode lottery of NHS care with hundreds waiting more than a year for treatment in some parts of the country.

Doctors warn that the pandemic has had a ‘very detrimental effect’ on youngsters after paediatric staff were redeployed to treat adults with Covid.

It means that many young patients had operations and appointments cancelled.

There are 267,256 under-16s on waiting lists in England, analysis of official figures reveals for the first time. But 72,458 of these have been waiting longer than the 18-weeks target and 13,854 have been waiting for more than a year.

Shockingly, paediatric waiting lists in some areas are more than 20 times bigger than others, with children in the most deprived areas worst hit. 

NHS Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is the best-performing area with 173.6 children per 100,000 on a waiting list. However, NHS Sheffield CCG has 24 times as many children waiting, with a rate of 4,134.1 per 100,000 – or 5,153 patients. And NHS Manchester CCG has the highest rate of children waiting over a year, at 514.8 per 100,000, compared with just two per 100,000 in Liverpool.

Shockingly, paediatric waiting lists in some areas are more than 20 times bigger than others, with children in the most deprived areas worst hit.

Shockingly, paediatric waiting lists in some areas are more than 20 times bigger than others, with children in the most deprived areas worst hit.

Shockingly, paediatric waiting lists in some areas are more than 20 times bigger than others, with children in the most deprived areas worst hit.

Nine areas have fewer than ten children waiting more than a year, with Southport, West Lancashire, Wirral, St Helens and Liverpool having fewer than three. But there are 1,756 on the list for more than 52 weeks in north-east London alone.

Dr Camilla Kingdon, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: ‘The waiting lists for treatment for these children can be months, putting enormous pressure on them and their families.’

The first ever published paediatric figures, for April, showed 245,699 were on a waiting list. This grew by 5 per cent in May and a further 4 per cent in June. But the number of children waiting a year or more fell by 11 per cent from May to June.

Dr Jonathan Pearson-Stuttard, of health analytics consultancy LCP, said that the difference between the best and worst areas was ‘vast’. 

An NHS England spokesman admitted that Covid has had an ‘inevitable impact on the health service’s ability to deliver other care for less urgent conditions’, but insisted that ‘NHS services have continued to be available.’

And the Department of Health said that it was providing £1billion to help tackle the backlog. The total NHS England waiting list, including adults, now stands at a record 5.5million.

Source: Daily Mail UK

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