NHS waiting list times are increasing - with care delayed by more than 52 weeks

The number of people having to wait for more than 52 weeks for hospital treatment in England has risen again, new data shows.

Figures released by NHS England show the number of people waiting has hit a 12 high, with at least 162,000 patients delayed by more than a year for routine NHS operations.

Year on year drop in admissions

In May, at the height of pandemic and of hospitals admitting Covid patients, the year on year drop in admission for planned treatments was 82 per cent.

By August, it had improved to 43 per cent, and by September there was more recovery, with a 27 per cent year on year drop recorded. However, in October the recovery halted, with the recorded drop staying at 27 per cent.

The new figures revealed a total of 4.44 million people waiting to start treatments at the end of October.

In England, more than 350,000 patients had been waiting more than six weeks for a key diagnostic test in October. In 2019, the equivalent number for waiting more than six weeks was 33,200.

Emergency admissions falls

Emergency admissions to accident and emergency departments in England fell last month, down 19 per cent from 559,556 in November 2019, to 451,800 in November 2020.

NHS England has said this is likely a consequence of the coronavirus outbreak, with data suggesting people are staying away from A&E departments because of Covid-19.

Rising number each month of planned treatments

The data released also suggests that the number of people admitted each month for planned treatment has been rising, compared with pre-pandemic levels. However, the second wave of Covid infections could be slowing progress.

October saw 232,487 patients admitted for planned treatments, which is the highest figure since before the pandemic hit in February, which stood at 238,819 admissions.

A spokesman for the NHS, said, “Over the summer, some predicted that waiting lists would hit 10 million by Christmas, but, thanks to the work of NHS staff, the waiting list is still lower than it was this time last year, and median waits for planned care shortened over the past month.

“Although Covid hospitalisations almost doubled during November, for every Covid inpatient the NHS treated, hospitals managed to treat five other inpatients for other health conditions.

“With cancer referrals and treatments now back above usual levels, our message remains that people should continue to come forward for care when they need it.”