HOSPITALS will miss targets for clearing the Covid backlog due to staff shortages, NHS bosses warn.
Some 98 per cent of managers say crippling job vacancies mean patients will suffer even longer, a poll shows.
It comes despite the 1.25 percentage point National Insurance increase from next month to raise £12billion a year to cut the backlog.
More than 6.1 million are on the waiting list — up from 4.4 million over the pandemic.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid wants the figure under control by 2024.
But NHS Providers, which did the poll, says there are 110,000 NHS job vacancies.
Deputy chief exec Saffron Cordery says it means staff are trying to cut the backlog with “one hand tied behind their backs”.
Over 100 health groups have written to No 10 to urge MPs to accept a Bill that would compel the Government to reveal the staff numbers needed by the NHS to cope with future demand.
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Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt said it would likely be voted down tomorrow.
He added: “This is reckless and short-sighted. After three lockdowns to protect NHS capacity, surely it’s time to fix the workforce crisis.”