NHS waiting list hits record 6.4 million

The number of people waiting to start routine NHS treatment in England hit 6.4 million in March.

This is up from 6.2 million in February and is the highest number since records began in August 2007.

A new record of 24,138 people had to wait more than 12 hours in A&E after a decision to admit them had been made in April.

The figure is up from 22,506 in March, and is the highest for any calendar month in records going back to August 2010.

However the number of patients being seen within four hours in April improved compared to March, with 72.3 per cent of patients seen in this time compared to 71.6 per cent.

The latest NHS data shows continued struggles for ambulance services accross the country as figures show average response times for potentially life threatening conditions, such as strokes, was 51 minutes and 22 seconds in April.

This down from one hour, one minute and three seconds in March, which was the longest time on record for this category of call-outs. These calls should have a response within 18 minutes.

Ambulance response times for urgent calls such as late stage labour averaged two hours and 38 minutes in April. This is down from a record three hours and 28 minutes in March.

The Government and NHS England have set the ambition of eliminating all waits of more than a year by March 2025. The number of people having to wait more than 52 weeks to start hospital treatment in England was 306,286 in March, up from 299,478 the previous month.

Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for NHS England, said: “Today’s figures show our hardworking teams across the NHS are making good progress in tackling the backlogs that have built up with record numbers of diagnostic tests and cancer checks taking place in March, as part of the most ambitious catch up plan in NHS history.

“We always knew the waiting list would initially continue to grow as more people come forward for care who may have held off during the pandemic, but today’s data show the number of people waiting more than two years has fallen for the second month in a row, and the number waiting more than 18 months has gone down for the first time.

More to follow…


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