NHS waiting list spikes to ANOTHER record high of 6.4MILLION

NHS waiting list spikes to ANOTHER record high: Now 6.4MILLION patients are stuck in queues for routine ops like hip and knee replacements

  • NHS data shows 6.36million people were in the queue for elective operations by March — up from 6.18million
  • The number of patients forced to wait longer than a year jumped 2% on February figure, reaching 306,000
  • Some 16,796 have been seeking treatment for more than two years — down by 28% on one month earlier

The number of people waiting for routine hospital treatment in England has soared to another record of 6.36million.

NHS data shows one in nine people were in the queue for elective operations such as hip and knee replacements and cataracts surgery by March — up from 6.18million in February.

The number of patients forced to wait longer than a year jumped two per cent to 306,000, while 16,796 have been seeking treatment for more than two years — down by 28 per cent.

Separate data on A&E performance in April shows a record 24,138 people were forced to wait 12 hours or more to be treated, three times longer than the NHS target and the worst figure on record.  

Just seven in 10 patients were seen within four hours of arriving at emergency departments, a light recovery from last month, making it the second-lowest rate ever recorded. 

Ambulance figures for April show waits for paramedics fell compared to March but were higher than nearly all other months since records began.

NHS data shows 6.36million people were in the queue for elective operations such as hip and knee replacements and cataracts surgery by March — up from 6.18million in February

The number of safety incidents logged by ambulance trusts in England has skyrocketed 77 per cent in the last year compared to before the pandemic, official figures show. The reports — which paramedics log with the NHS when an incident risks long-term harm or death to a patient — jumped from 312 in the year to March 2020 to 551 in the 12 months to March 2022. The figures, which mainly reflect harm due to ‘access, admission or transfer’ problems, include 201 unintended deaths, more than double the 78 logged two years ago

Long waits for ambulances are having a ‘dangerous impact’ on patient safety, medics have warned as safety incidents and waiting times soar.

The number of safety incidents logged by ambulance trusts in England has skyrocketed 77 per cent in the last year compared to before the pandemic, official figures show.

The reports — which paramedics log with the NHS when an incident risks long-term harm or death to a patient — jumped from 312 in the year to March 2020 to 551 in the 12 months to March 2022.

The figures, which mainly reflect harm due to ‘access, admission or transfer’ problems, include 201 unintended deaths, more than double the 78 logged two years ago. 

Health chiefs warned thousands of patients across the country could be affected every month, as not all staff reports their concerns.

And a mother has today told of how her nine-year-old daughter fractured her skull when she fell off her bike but was told the ambulance wait would be 10 hours — 15-times longer than the 40-minue target.

The crisis in the ambulance service, triggered by record demand, ongoing Covid disruption and handover delays at hospitals, saw patients facing record waits in March.  

NHS England data shows the NHS backlog grew by another 2.8 per cent in March compared to February. Health chiefs expect the list to keep growing until March 2024, with between 9.2 and 10.7million patients on the waiting list at the peak.

Of the 6.36million waiting patients, 62.4 per cent joined the queue in the last four months, while 4.8 per cent have been waiting more than one year and 0.3 per cent have been waiting for more than two years.

One-year waiters increased by 2.3 per cent between February and March.

The number waiting two-years fell by 27.9 per cent. But the 16,796 figure is 6.4-times higher than the 2,608 people who were waiting longer than two years in April 2021.

NHS England said that increasing numbers of people were coming forward following the pandemic, with 1.8million people referred for treatment in March. 

Ministers announced an elective recovery plan earlier this year, setting out how waiting lists will finally start to fall in two years, while two-year waits would be scrapped by July.

Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for NHS England, said the figures show the health service is making ‘good progress’ tackling the backlogs, boasting of record diagnostic tests and cancer checks in March ‘as part of the most ambitious catch up plan in NHS history’.

He said: ‘We always knew the waiting list would initially continue to grow as more people come forward for care who may have held off during the pandemic.

‘But today’s data show the number of people waiting more than two years has fallen for the second month in a row, and the number waiting more than 18 months has gone down for the first time.’

Professor Powis added: ‘There is no doubt the NHS still faces pressures, and the latest figures are another reminder of the crucial importance of community and social care, in helping people in hospital leave when they are fit to do so, not just because it is better for them but because it helps free up precious NHS bed space.’

Health leaders warn that more than one in 10 beds are currently taken up by people who are medically fit to be discharged but are stuck in hospital due to a lack of social care staff to look after them when they get out.

Ambulance data shows paramedics are arriving faster than March, which saw the worst wait times since records began in August 2017, but are still missing targets. 

The average category one response time – calls from people with life-threatening illnesses or injuries – was nine minutes and two seconds. This is 33 seconds faster than March.

Ambulances took an average of 51 minutes and 22 seconds to respond to category two calls, such as burns, epilepsy and strokes. This is nine minutes and 41 seconds quicker than one month earlier.

Response times for category three calls – such as late stages of labour, non-severe burns and diabetes – averaged two hours, 38 minutes and 41 seconds. This is 49 minutes and 32 seconds faster than March

It comes as the number of safety incidents logged by ambulance trusts in England has skyrocketed 77 per cent in the last year compared to before the pandemic, official figures show.

The reports — which paramedics log with the NHS when an incident risks long-term harm or death to a patient — jumped from 312 in the year to March 2020 to 551 in the 12 months to March 2022.

The figures, which mainly reflect harm due to ‘access, admission or transfer’ problems, include 201 unintended deaths, more than double the 78 logged two years ago. 

Health chiefs warned thousands of patients across the country could be affected every month, as not all staff reports their concerns.

And a mother has today told of how her nine-year-old daughter fractured her skull when she fell off her bike but was told the ambulance wait would be 10 hours — 15-times longer than the 40-minue target.

The crisis in the ambulance service, triggered by record demand, ongoing Covid disruption and handover delays at hospitals, saw patients facing record waits in March.

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