More than Three Million Patients Now on NHS Waiting List

September 6, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. waiting list /ˈweɪ tɪŋ lɪst/ (n.) – a list of people waiting for something
Example: Your name is not in the doctor’s waiting list.

2. immobile /ɪˈmoʊ bəl/ (adj.) – cannot move or be moved
Example: Being temporarily paralyzed made her immobile for a few days.

3. distressed /dɪˈstrɛst/ (adj.) – feeling great pain or anxiety
Example: She was distressed over the results of the exam.

4. pending /ˈpɛn dɪŋ/ (adj.) – not happening yet
Example: I have a pending job interview in a new company.

5. dignity /ˈdɪg nɪ ti/ (n.) – the quality or state of being respect-worthy
Example: Everyone should be treated with dignity.


Read the text below.
Official statistics show that more than three million patients in the United Kingdom are on the National Health Service’s (NHS) waiting list for operation and treatment.

The figure, which is the highest in the past seven years, includes over 6,100 patients who are forced to wait for at least 12 months to be treated or operated. In worst cases, patients are left waiting for almost three years. This long wait has resulted in some people being immobile and distressed.

According to the NHS England, the exact number of patients still waiting for their operations and treatments is 3.12 million. However, some officials estimate that there are actually 3.4 million patients in the waiting list. This is almost 30% higher than the recorded number in 2010, which was at 2.5 million.

NHS data expert Rob Findlay [FIN-lee] said that among more than 6,100 patients who waited at least a year for treatment, 634 still have pending treatments. Among those who were treated, 924,000 waited longer than the estimated 18-week schedule.

Aside from its long waiting list, the NHS also had previous issues with its patients. In 2012, a survey involving NHS patients revealed that one out of five patients in hospitals in England felt that they did not receive treatment with respect and dignity. The survey by the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion found that women and patients over 80 years old were the ones who experienced this kind of treatment.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Why do you think patients are left waiting for their treatment?
·         How can the number of people in the waiting list be reduced?

Discussion B

·         Do you agree that discrimination against certain patients happens in hospitals? Why or why not?
·         What other hospital-related problems do you know of? Please discuss your answer.

September 6, 2015