Confusion about stable NHS waiting times

In this article on The Guardian website, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation, Rob Webster, is quoted as saying,

If the NHS cannot afford to fund everything then it will need to make tough choices about what it does fund.

Do we think about increasing our tolerance for longer wait (for care), or do we say NHS funding is only for the health aspects of care and treatment, which means patients being asked to cover their hotel costs for bed and board?

But the part about ‘increasing our tolerance for longer waits for care’ is nonsense. If capacity is higher than demand then there should be no wait. If capacity is lower than demand then waiting times should continuously increase. What we usually see is that waiting times are stable which means that, give or take, capacity matches demand, it’s just that for some reason or other the backlog isn’t being worked through.

Because what Webster is saying is that with less money there are fewer resources so we’ll have to accept longer waiting times. But as above, stable, long waiting times mean that capacity matches demand so if we worked off the backlog, then we could have no waiting at all.

Best,

Rob

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