Hospital Dr News

NHS attendances and waiting lists grow as people seek treatment

A record number of people are waiting to start NHS treatment and A&E attendances continue to rise.

The latest NHS England figures – for June – show 5.45 million waiting for procedures – up from 5.3 million in May. This is the highest since records began in 2007.

Emergency Departments continue to be under pressure with 2.16 million people treated in in July.

Ambulances across England answered more than a million calls in the month.

Deborah Ward, Senior Analyst at The King’s Fund, said: “Today’s figures show services across the NHS running hot as staff do their best to respond to pre-pandemic levels of activity in emergency care and tackle the hospital backlog that has built up during the pandemic.  

“The waiting list for routine NHS care has ballooned to levels not seen since the early 2000s, and now stands at over 5.4 million and with the potential for many more people who weren’t referred during the pandemic to come forward for treatment, this list will continue to grow.”

On the positive side, the June figures show the numbers waiting more than 18 weeks or a year both down.

The number of patients waiting longer than 18 weeks for care has dropped by almost 25,000 to 1.7 million.

Those having to wait more than a year to start treatment was 304,803 in June – down from 336,733 the previous month.

However, the number of people waiting two years or more for planned care has risen to nearly 6000.

More support needed

Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said: “The government must take steps now to make sure the NHS can cope as autumn and winter are expected to be even tougher than usual this year.

“Health leaders urgently need clarity on funding for the second half of the financial year and beyond. Without this, trusts risk having to spend money for which they might not be reimbursed, to manage ongoing COVID-19 pressures, keep making sure people can leave hospital as soon as they are medically fit, and manage capital requirements.”

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