NHS operation waiting lists reach 10-year high at 4.3m patients

Full story in The Guardian, 13 July 2018.

The number of patients waiting for an operation on the NHS has reached 4.3 million, the highest total for 10 years, official figures show.

Growing numbers are having to wait more than the supposed maximum of 18 weeks for planned non-urgent surgery such as a cataract removal or hip or knee replacement.

In May, for example, 211,434 patients had been on the waiting list for more than six months, up from the 197,067 who were in that position a month before and up by almost half compared to a year earlier, the NHS England data shows.

Hospitals managed to treat 88.1% of people on the referral to treatment (RTT) waiting list within 18 weeks, well below the 92% who are meant to have surgery within that time. The NHS has not met the 92% target since February 2016 amid fast-growing demand for care.