Year-long treatment delays soar
THE number of patients waiting more than a year to begin hospital treatment in England rose by 64 per cent between June and July, figures show.
According to NHS England data, 83,203 patients had been waiting more than 52 weeks between referral and starting treatment in July, up from 50,536 in June. The last time the figure was higher was in November 2008.
Meanwhile, a record number of people are having to wait more than 18 weeks to start treatment, reaching 2.15 million in July, more than three times last year’s figures and the highest since current records began in 2007.
The Royal College of Surgeons warned that surgery could once again be brought to a “standstill”.
Professor Neil Mortensen, its president, said: “Patients who have been waiting many months, even a year or more, for their treatment cannot afford to wait until next spring.
“We urgently need to build up our hospital reserves. Flu, together with continuing local Covid outbreaks, must not bring surgery to a standstill again, or thousands more will suffer.”
Dr Susan Crossland, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, called on the Government to “publish full winter-crisis planning proposals” as pressure was “creeping up” on the NHS.
“The reduction in acute beds is a major concern for us,” she said.