Liz Truss has received a stark insight into the dire state of the NHS after new figures showed millions of people in England were facing often record delays to access vital healthcare.
One leading NHS expert said the long waits for care, diagnostic tests and hospital beds showed that Britain’s new prime minister “inherits an NHS in critical condition”.
The total number of people in England waiting for hospital treatment rose again to a record high of 6.8 million at the end of July – almost one in eight of the population.
Patients are also facing long waits for accident and emergency care, cancer treatment, such as surgery or chemotherapy, and for an ambulance to arrive after a 999 call.
Of the 6.8 million people on NHS England’s “referral to treatment” waiting list, 2,665,004 had been waiting for more than 18 weeks, which is the supposed maximum waiting time for procedures such as a joint replacement, hernia repair or cataract removal.
In addition, 377,689 had been waiting more than a year to start their treatment, almost 22,000 more than a month before, according to the latest monthly performance data published by NHS England.
The data showed that ministers and NHS bosses had failed to fulfil their pledge to eradicate two-year waits by the end of July; 2,885 such cases had not been resolved by then, despite major efforts by hospitals to meet the target.
Source: The Guardian, 8 September 2022