Record number of NHS England patients awaiting routine hospital treatment | NHS

The number of people in England waiting to start routine hospital treatment has reached an all-time high, due to the backlog of NHS care caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

About 5.45 million people were waiting to start treatment by the end of June, according to figures from NHS England, the highest number since records began in August 2007. Sign of progress, however, with the number of patients waiting for more than 18 weeks for care dropped by nearly 25,000.

The number who had to wait more than a year to start treatment was 304,803 in June, up from 336,733 the month before, but about six times more than a year earlier.

NHS England said the health service was having one of its busiest summers ever. Its National Medical Director, Professor Stephen Powis, said: ‘NHS staff have effectively used the additional resources available to us to recover services that were inevitably disrupted during the pandemic, and we continue to tackle the backlog of Covid.

“This is because the services have seen some of the highest numbers of patients presenting for care over the summer months, while delivering the largest and most accurate vaccine rollout in our history.”

Ahead of the figures’ release, NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said some health trusts were busier than ever due to a multitude of pressures on the service.

He said the NHS remained under pressure despite lower Covid hospital admissions levels than recently predicted.

“What we can’t do is magic cure out of thin air,” he told BBC Breakfast. “What we need is money, but we also need to invest that money in a larger workforce, and that is fundamental to overcoming this backlog.

“We’re just not going to get there fast enough unless that funding and investment is there, and that’s the challenge the Chancellor and the Prime Minister face, probably over the next three or four to five weeks. . “

Modeling from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) this weekend suggested that England’s NHS waiting list could reach 14 million by the fall of next year and continue to rise if millions of patients who did not receive care during the pandemic are returning to health services for medical care.

The President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Professor Neil Mortensen, said there was always pressure in hospitals due to infection control, Covid patients and staff shortages. He called for “significant investments in a more sustainable system, adapted to a country where the virus remains endemic” to avoid ever longer waiting lists.

“This summer, the pressure on the emergency services has not diminished. A volatile mixture of pressures hinders surgical recovery, ”he said.

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