NHS treatment waiting list hits 7 million people for first time ever

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
NHS England said monthly figures - comparing August 2022 with August 2019 - show a 4% rise in patients receiving treatment

The NHS waiting list for treatment has hit seven million people for the first time ever, new data has revealed.

NHS England data shows there were seven million people waiting to start routine hospital treatment at the end of August. This is up from 6.8 million in July and is the highest number since records began in August 2007.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Elsewhere, a total of 387,257 people had been waiting more than 52 weeks to start hospital treatment at the end of August, which is up from 377,689 at the end of July, and is the equivalent of one in 18 people on the entire waiting list. 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 enduring long trolley waits - which is the time spent in A&E before people are found a bed on a hospital ward - has also risen. The number waiting more than 12 hours in A&E departments in England from a decision to admit them to actually being admitted hit 32,776 people in September - up from 28,756 in August. It is the highest number in records going back to August 2010.

NHS England said monthly figures - comparing August 2022 with August 2019 - show a 4% rise in patients receiving treatmentNHS England said monthly figures - comparing August 2022 with August 2019 - show a 4% rise in patients receiving treatment
NHS England said monthly figures - comparing August 2022 with August 2019 - show a 4% rise in patients receiving treatment | Adobe

The number waiting at least four hours for a bed stood at 131,861 in September. This is up from 130,528 the previous month, but below the peak of 136,298 reported in March. A total of 71% of patients in England were seen within four hours at A&Es last month, the joint-worst performance on record, set against a target of 95%.

The NHS England figures showed a record 255,055 urgent cancer referrals were made by GPs in England in August, the highest monthly total in records going back to 2009. However, only 75.6% of patients in England saw a specialist within two weeks that month against a 93% target - the second-worst performance on record.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Some 69.5% of patients urgently referred for suspected cancer were diagnosed or had cancer ruled out within 28 days in August. This was down slightly from 71.1% the previous month and the second-worst performance in records going back to April 2021.

The elective recovery plan sets a goal of March 2024 for 75% of patients who have been urgently referred by their GP for suspected cancer to be diagnosed or have cancer ruled out within 28 days.

NHS England said monthly figures - comparing August 2022 with August 2019 - show a 4% rise in patients receiving treatment.

Siva Anandaciva, chief analyst at The King’s Fund think tank, said: “NHS services are facing a range of really serious challenges which impact on patients and the quality and timeliness of care they receive – including crumbling buildings and outdated equipment, long waiting lists for care, high levels of Covid-19, and growing staff shortages.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

NHS national medical director, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, said: “Despite huge pressures on the NHS this summer, the incredible work of colleagues across the country meant that in August we delivered more potentially life-saving cancer checks than ever before, and cut 18-month waits by 60% over the last year.

“This was despite continued pressure from Covid patients in hospital, which has now risen to more than double the numbers seen in August, and more of the most serious ambulance callouts than before the pandemic.”

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.