Op delays hit 13-year high as cancer referrals plummet
NEARLY 1. million people have waited longer than 18 weeks for hospital treatment – the highest figure since 2007, new figures show.
And urgent cancer referrals dropped 7 per cent, NHS England data shows. Overall 1, 8,3 7 people had waited more than four months for treatment in May – up from 76,237 a year ago.
The figure was also a jump from 1,132,602 a month earlier.
Just 62.2 per cent of patients were seen within 18 weeks in May – the target is 9 per cent.
Some 106, 3 urgent cancer referrals were made by GPs, down from 200, 99 over the same period a year ago.
And breast cancer referrals showed an even bigger drop: down from 1 ,802 in May 2019 to ,371 this year.
Dr Nick Scriven, former president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said the data showed NHS performance across the board ‘clearly continues to be hugely affected by Covid-19’.
‘We must remember performance has been poor for a lot longer than that and questions need to be answered as to how we ensure the sustainable future of the service,’ he added.
He also raised concerns ‘about the growing crisis in accessing diagnostic tests’, as 71, 9 had waited six weeks or more for procedures such as MRI scans and ultrasounds.
The data also showed 26,029 people
had waited more than a year for their treatment to start – up from 1,032 in May 2019 and the highest monthly leap since September 2009.
Due to the pandemic, just ,0 patients were admitted for routine treatments, an 82 per cent drop from a year ago when the figure was 29 ,881.
But an NHS spokesman said staff had managed to provide ‘more than
million urgent tests, checks and treatment in a safe way during the peak of the virus’.
‘The overall waiting list has fallen by more than 00,000 since the onset of Covid, but, as more patients come forward, local health services continue work to expand services safely,’ he added.