Record high for England’s NHS waiting list

At the end of December, almost 6.1 million people were waiting to have an operation – the highest number since records began in August 2007. The waits at A&E, for cancer care and for ambulances to arrive are also worsening.

The number of people forced to wait more than 52 weeks to start non-urgent treatment was 310,813, up from 306,996 in the previous month and 39% higher than in December 2020. A total of 20,065 had waited for more than two years. Overall, 92% of patients waiting are those meant to be treated within 18 weeks.

NHS England’s figures come two days after it published its elective recovery plan, setting out how it hopes to cut waiting times. It plans to tackle the backlog through the use of community diagnostic centres where people can have tests such as scans and X-rays, and surgical hubs, which carry out large numbers of the same type of operation such as joint replacements.

Full story in The Guardian, 10 February 2022