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Hospital Waiting List hits 6.5 million

17 Jun 2022

Official figures show that a record 6.5 million people in England are currently waiting for routine NHS hospital treatment. It is the highest number since records began in August 2007.

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A total of 6.48 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of April after being referred by a consultant - up from 6.4 million in March. This represents one in nine people in the population who are waiting for care. One in 20 of them has been waiting for more than a year.

The number of people waiting for more than a year for hospital treatment is almost 200 times higher than before the pandemic with 300,000 in the queue at the end of February this year. Two years before, that figure was below 2,000.

Tim Mitchell, of the Royal College of Surgeons, said there was some "light at the end of the tunnel".

"Surgical teams have been working around the clock to reduce the enormous waiting list which built up during the pandemic.

"However, there are still big challenges ahead. As people return to the NHS, demand is only getting stronger."

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, of NHS England, praised "hard-working NHS staff", saying significant progress was being made. However, he warned there was "no doubt" the NHS was still facing pressures, including an increasing number of Covid patients.

The NHS is suffering a workforce shortage and has a capacity issue in the health service which could explain why so many patients are having to wait. The government has set the target of eliminating all waits of more than a year by March 2025.


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