The latest data shows that there are a record 5 million people on the NHS waiting list for routine treatment, with the number of people waiting over a year for routine NHS treatment in England up by almost 50,000 in a single month.
More than 436,000 patients were waiting longer than 52 weeks for hospital treatments by the end of March this year, up from 387,000 in February. This is the highest number of year-long waiters for any month since August 2007, when the figure stood at 578,682.
The latest data underlines the challenge facing the NHS, with hospitals forced to cancel thousands of routine operations during the coronavirus crisis due to the health service treating 400,000 Covid patients.
NHS England has announced £160m to fund new pilots in 12 areas and five specialist children’s hospitals to trial new ways of cutting the backlog.
But the announcement did not mention how the extra work will be staffed and the NHS has a major workforce crisis with a shortage of doctors and nurses to carry out treatments.
Full story in the Independent, 14 May 2021