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Record 6m people waiting for routine hospital treatment in England

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Just under 6 million people in England are now waiting for hospital treatment – a record high – as latest performance figures show how the NHS was struggling even before the Omicron Covid variant emerged.

A total of 5,995,156 patients were on the waiting list for an operation in November, of whom more than 2 million had already waited longer than the maximum standard of 18 weeks for routine treatment.

Figures published by the NHS underlined its growing inability to provide timely care. They also showed that more than 300,000 people have been waiting more than a year for surgery and that performance against the crucial four-hour A&E target is the worst ever.

The figures led to warnings from the Health Foundation thinktank that the NHS was “being stretched to its limits” and from the Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Daisy Cooper that “patients are being catastrophically let down by this government’s woeful neglect of the NHS”.

“With the NHS now in the thick of one of the most uniquely challenging periods in its history, unacceptably long waits for hospital care are becoming increasingly commonplace,” said Siva Anandaciva, the chief analyst at the King’s Fund.

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Source: The Guardian, 13 January 2022

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