An extra £5.4bn in funding over the next six months has been announced for NHS England to support the response to Covid-19 and reduce waiting lists.

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists welcomed the announcement and said it included £1.5bn to manage the elective surgery backlog, with cataract surgery identified as particular concern by the government.

Professor Bernie Chang, president of the Royal College, said: ‘The commitment to more funding to tackle backlogs will be a relief for ophthalmologists and other eye healthcare staff battling long waiting lists. Too many patients are waiting too long for ophthalmology services, with over half a million people now waiting for treatment.’

The association added that the funding would only be a short term fix and an increase in workforce was required in order to meet a rising patient demand for services.