The NHS could take up to two years to recover from the Covid-19 crisis, and cope with the number of patients it was dealing with before it, medics have warned.
The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) said it was important to be honest with patients about just how long it could take for things to return to normal.
NHS figures show the numbers of patients waiting a year or more for operations has increased by ten-fold in the last year.
Many procedures are now taking far longer than they used to, because of extra time on infection control, deployment of Personal Protective Equipment.
Meanwhile the number of beds on wards has been reduced, in order to allow social distancing.
The RCP surveyed 19 medical specialties to ask medics when they expected their services to return to full capacity.
Seventy per cent of those polled thought it would take at least
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