September 3, 2023

The number of people waiting for routine hospital treatment in England has skyrocketed to another record high, official figures show.

As the crisis deepens, one in nine people (6.48million) were queuing for elective operations such as hip and knee replacements and cataracts surgery by April — up from the 6.36m stuck in March.

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There are now 323,093 patients who have been waiting at least a year for their op, up 5.5 per cent. 

Meanwhile, 12,735 have been stuck on the list since before Covid reached Britain in early 2020, down by a quarter.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has promised to axe all one-year-plus waits to zero by 2025, utilising the 1.25 per cent National Insurance hike which will raise the health service a extra £30billion over the next three years. 

Despite the Covid-induced backlog worsening yet again, response times in A&E and for ambulances have actually improved slightly.

More than 19,000 patients attending casualty units were still forced to wait 12 hours or more to be given a bed, in conditions described by experts as ‘inhumane’.

This was down by a fifth on the previous month — but emergency medics say NHS England figures are a ‘gross under-representation’ of the actual crisis.

Fewer than three-quarters of patients were seen within the four-hour target of arriving at overwhelmed emergency departments, a slight recovery from last month.
This was still the third-lowest rate ever recorded.

Ambulance crews continued to arrive late, on average, to callouts for all types of illnesses or injuries, even though response times were faster than last month. Doctors say that ‘urgent action’ is needed to tackle to prevent patients dying unnecessarily. 

It comes as a report today warned that record handover delays outside busy A&E departments have seen patients left waiting for up to 24 hours before being assessed.

The knock-on effects mean that dozens have died at home because ambulances were stuck in queues. 

As the NHS crisis deepens, official statistics show that one in nine people (6.48million) were queuing for elective operations such as hip and knee replacements and cataracts surgery by April — up from the 6.36m stuck in March.

There are now 323,093 who have been waiting for more than a year for their operation, up 5.5 per cent, and 12,735 have been seeking treatment for more than two years, down by a quarter

Separate data on A&E performance in May shows a 19,053 people were forced to wait 12 hours or more to be treated, dating site three times longer than the NHS target.

The figure is a fifth lower than last month. Less than three-quarters of patients were seen within the four-hour target of arriving at emergency departments, a slight recovery from last month but the third-lowest rate ever recorded

Ambulances took an average of 39 minutes and 58 seconds to respond to category two calls, such as burns, epilepsy and strokes.

This is 11 minutes and 24 seconds quicker than one month earlier but more than double the 18-minute target

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