NHS ‘must take urgent action’ to clear hospitals backlog

NHS ‘must take urgent action’ to clear backlog of patients needing surgery as nearly 230,00 people have been waiting at least six months for treatment

  • The Royal College of Surgeons has warned too many patients face long waits
  • It found more than 36,000 patients have been waiting more than nine months
  • And the damning figures have risen despite a ‘mild’ winter this year 

Nearly a quarter of a million NHS patients – 227,569 people – have been waiting more than six months for treatment, figures have revealed.

Experts said there is an ‘urgent need’ to clear the ‘increasing backlog’ of patients who need hospital treatment, and the NHS needs new beds to cope with them.

Statistics today revealed there are 4.16million people in England waiting for treatment – a number second only to 4.18m in October last year. 

As hospitals are buckling under the pressure of growing demand despite a ‘mild’ winter, A&E and cancer treatment waiting times have also hit all-time worsts. 

There are more than 227,000 people on the NHS waiting list, which has risen to 4.16million patients, who have been waiting for six months or more for their treatment (stock image)

Figures published today revealed the number of people waiting beyond NHS target times to start their treatment is rising.

A total of 36,857 people on the waiting list have been on it for nine months or more, although the number waiting for more than a year is falling.

‘The backlog of patients waiting to start treatment continues to grow,’ said Professor Derek Alderson, president of the Royal College of Surgeons.  

‘There are now over 100,000 more patients waiting longer than 18 weeks to start treatment when compared with the same time last year.

‘While we support NHS England’s plans to pilot new targets and measurements that could improve care, changing targets will not solve the underlying challenges our health service faces.

‘With the worst of winter now hopefully behind us, there is an urgent need for a plan to deal with the increasing backlog of patients on the planned care waiting list and we will work with NHS England to bring this about.

‘Part of this plan must be a commitment to increase hospital bed capacity.’


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