The NHS has recorded its largest monthly increase in the waiting list for 10 months, as unprecedented challenges in urgent and emergency care continue to disrupt recovery.
The elective figures published today for March presented mixed results, but much of the good news – a drop in the number of two-year waiters – had already been announced by NHS England in unvalidated figures for April.
Meanwhile, the system recorded its largest monthly rise in the overall list for 10 months, with the number of patients growing by 174,847 to hit a new record 6.36 million. This is the biggest month-on-month increase since the number jumped between April and May 2021 when it rose by 181,708 to hit 5.3 million.
The overall list has risen every month since May 2021, but the rises in the last four months have all been under 80,000.
The NHS warned in February it expects the waiting list to continue rising until March 2024, with patients now seeking care after various covid lockdowns.
Meanwhile, the number of patients waiting 12 hours from a decision to admit in accident and emergency departments reached a new high in data published today, covering April.
Ambulance response times also improved slightly last month from March’s all-time low. Average category one performance – for immediately life-threatening conditions, such as cardiac or respiratory arrest - was 9:02 minutes against a seven-minute target, but still an improvement on last month’s 9:35 minutes.
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Source: HSJ, 12 May 2022