NHS waiting list grows… AGAIN! 7.2m patients now in queue for routine ops

The number of people waiting for routine hospital treatment has risen to a new high, official figures show, as hospital bosses warn strikes will cause even more chaos.

Data from the NHS shows that in October 7.2 million patients in England were stuck in backlog, equivalent to one in eight people. More than 400,000 people had lined up for at least a year, often in pain.

The A&E crisis also worsened, with a third of emergency room attendants not seen within the health department’s four-hour target — its worst performance on record. More than 1,200 patients a day faced waiting times of more than 12 hours.

Health chiefs have warned that a wave of strike action by nurses and paramedics later this month will further paralyze the health service.

Performance is already slipping due to an increase in bed blockers, flu sufferers and demand from parents concerned about the Strep A outbreak, with experts warning the NHS is ‘bursting at the seams’.

Official figures show that at the end of September 7.1 million people in England were queuing for routine hospital treatment, such as hip and knee surgery – the equivalent of one in eight people (red line). The figure includes more than 400,000 people who have been waiting for more than a year, often in pain (yellow bars)

The latest figures show an additional 70,000 people added to the backlog in October, pushing the queue for treatment to its highest level since registration began in 2007.

The data shows that 410,983 people had been waiting for more than a year – the equivalent of one in 18 people on the waiting list. The figure is 1.5 percent higher than last month.

Ministers have told the NHS to abolish all one-year waiting times by March 2025.

The number of patients waiting at least 18 months fell by 656 in October. However, 50,124 people were still incarcerated for a year and a half – a backlog that should be cleared by April 2023.

Meanwhile, 1,907 people had been waiting for more than two years. The NHS aimed to eliminate these tall waiters by the summer.

It says those still waiting are either complex cases or turned down the chance to have their procedure earlier at another hospital.

The NHS says it is under pressure from record demand for urgent care and an increase in flu cases – with an average of 712 beds per day occupied by flu patients last week.

In addition, 95 percent of general and acute adult beds were occupied last week, while an average of 13,358 patients per day last week spent more time in the hospital than they needed — the equivalent of about one in 10 beds unnecessarily occupied.

Danielle Jefferies, from the King’s Fund, said the figures show the NHS is ‘bursting at the seams as services head into winter and struggle to meet soaring demand while ensuring patient safety’.

Meanwhile, data from the NHS shows that emergency department performance plummeted in November.

Almost a third of emergency department attendees (31.1 per cent, 143,949 people) had to wait longer than the NHS target of four hours to be seen.

It is the worst recorded rate since measurements began in 2010.

The number of people waiting for at least four hours fell from 150,922 in October to 143,949 in November. But it’s still the second highest on record.

And 37,837 people spent at least 12 hours in the emergency room — also the second-highest number on record.

Although the figure is 13.6 percent lower than last month, it still equates to 1,261 patients per day in November experiencing extended waiting.

The NHS rulebook states that at least 95 per cent of patients presenting to the ED must be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours. But since 2015, this has no longer been met nationally.

The average response time in November for ambulances in England outside London handling the most urgent incidents, defined as calls from people with life-threatening illnesses or injuries, was nine minutes and 26 seconds, NHS England figures show.

This is less than nine minutes and 56 seconds in October.

The target standard response time for urgent incidents is seven minutes.

Data for London is not available.

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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