NHS waiting list hits another record high: 4.4million people are now waiting for routine operations as the figure is the worst ever for a third month in a row
- Record numbers of patients are waiting months for routine operations
- The NHS ‘is now in a year-round-crisis’, rather than just during the winter
- Those in hospital who are on trolleys waiting for a bed in has risen 70% in a year
- Health leaders said the Government urgently needs to tackle the problem
The NHS waiting list has hit another record high with almost 4.4million people now waiting for routine treatment.
For a third month running the figure has risen to be the worst ever, increasing by a quarter of a million people between February and May alone.
Other statistics revealed today show the number of A&E patients stuck on trolleys waiting for an inpatient bed has increased by 70 per cent in a year.
Health leaders said the next Prime Minister must tackle the problem or risk ‘chaos’ in the health service.
With waiting times at A&E departments worse in May and June this year than in the run up to Christmas, it has been feared the NHS is now in a ‘year-round-crisis’.
The NHS waiting list has hit another record high with almost 4.4million people waiting for treatment. The shocking figure jumped up for a third month running, rising by a quarter of a million from February to May alone
The Royal College of Nursing Director in England, Patricia Marquis, said this figure did not come as a shock.
‘This is no surprise when NHS England themselves attribute the delays highlighted in the monthly waiting time statistics to “continued staffing and bed pressures”‘, she said.
‘A new Prime Minister will have no alternative but to get a grip on this situation.
‘Today’s statistics show that whether it’s a hospital treatment, a cancer diagnosis or care or a simple GP appointment, patients are having to wait longer and longer.
THREE QUARTERS OF HOSPITALS MISSED CANCER WAITING TARGETS LAST YEAR
Figures revealed today by the BBC showed almost three out of four NHS hospitals failed to hit an NHS target of treating 85 per cent of cancer patients within 62 days of their GP referral.
Some 94 out of 131 NHS trusts missed the target in 2018/19 – a rise from just 36 five years earlier.
In the worst performing trust last year – Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells – only 60.8 per cent of people were treated within the four-and-a-half month target.
In all, 28 trusts failed to treat even three quarters of their patients on time – a measure that would still be significantly lower than the NHS target.
NHS England as a whole managed to treat just 79.4 per cent of people within 62 days of their urgent referral from a GP, while 32,000 people waited longer.
A spokesperson for the health service said: ‘Cancer survival is at an all-time high in England and that is because the NHS continues to put itself under pressure by ramping up the number of people who get checked so that more cancers are caught early when they are easier to treat.
‘A record 2.2million people underwent tests last year, up 15 per cent on just 12 months earlier, and nearly 130,000 were treated within the two month target.’
‘With one in ten nursing posts currently vacant in England alone, the situation will not change unless the NHS manages to recruit more staff.’
The waiting times refer to patients who are waiting for routine but important operations such as joint replacements.
Those included in the 4.39million in the waiting list are the ones who have been referred for surgery by a specialist but have not yet had the procedure.
Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: ‘The system remains under significant strain and one wonders how many more times performance targets have to be missed for government and NHS leaders to accept they have failed to meet the challenges presented to them over recent years.
‘This is meant to be the time when services are least stretched and staff have an opportunity to draw breath but the numbers are staggering.’
A&E departments are also feeling the strain as backed up hospital beds make it harder for them to find places to put new patients, so leave them waiting on temporary beds known as ‘trolleys’.
Official figures show there were a total of 119,320 trolley waits of more than four hours in May and June this year.
The figure is almost treble that from four years ago.
The deteriorating performance has been partly blamed on staff turning down extra shifts in fear of being hit with a huge tax bill.
New rules mean GPs and consultants are among those hit with tax rates of up to 90 per cent on their total pension value if they earn more than £110,000 a year.
Yesterday the British Medical Association wrote to Conservative leadership candidates Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson calling for a reform on the current pension taxation immediately.
They warned they are ‘deeply concerned about significant reductions in capacity within the NHS’ citing the ‘worrying evidence’ of its impact on the health service NHS.