NHS waiting lists in England at record levels


The RCS has expressed these concerns as NHS performance data confirms the NHS has just come through one of its most difficult summers on record. 

Treatment statistics for August 2019 shows that the number of patients waiting more than 18 weeks to start planned treatment was 662,053.  Only 85.0% were seen within 18 weeks, missing the government’s target of 92%. By comparison, the number of patients waiting longer than 18 weeks for planned treatment in August 2018 was 530,374. At that time, 87.3% of patients were seen within 18 weeks. 

In August 2019, 260,887 patients waited over 6 months to start treatment, and over 45,000 people waited over 9 months. This is the first time the number of patients waiting over 9 months has exceeded 40,000. 

There were 1,233 patients waiting longer than a year in August 2019, an improvement on August 2018 when there were 3,405 patients waiting over a year. 

Professor Derek Alderson of the Royal College of Surgeons of England says:  “The NHS has had a difficult enough time dealing with winter pressures over the last few years. Gone are the years where NHS hospitals had the staff and time to recover over the summer months in preparation for the busy winter period. The latest performance figures show waiting times continued to deteriorate over the summer. We need swift and far-reaching government action to get the NHS shipshape for winter. Government needs to set out a 5-year plan, including increased bed capacity and staffing, to get waiting lists under control in the longer term.”  



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