NHS waiting times hit 3 million for first time in six years

Almost three million patients are on an NHS waiting list for the first time in six years, according to new figures released today.

Almost three million patients are on an NHS waiting list for the first time in six years, according to new figures released today.

According to NHS Referral to Treatment figures for April released by NHS England, 2,993,108 people are waiting for treatment on an NHS waiting list – the highest number since 2006.

Today’s news comes on the back of figures published last week which also showed that a record number of patients are visiting A&E departments.

296,667 people visited A&E in the last week of May. A&E departments should treat and discharge 95 per cent of patients within four hours of arrivall, however in the last four weeks the number of patients waiting longer has ranged from 22,231 a week to 24,503.

As the Guardian reported, the number of patients waiting this summer are double the number of patients waiting more than four hours in the summer three years ago.

Commenting on today’s figures, Labour shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said the news “confirms that the unnecessary re-organisation has dragged down standards of patient care and left the NHS heading seriously downhill”.

“After a decade of progress under Labour, NHS waiting lists are getting longer by the day. It is what always happens when the Tories are in charge of the NHS, leaving millions of people facing the agonising choice of waiting in pain or paying to go private,” he said.

“David Cameron promised to protect the NHS and keep waiting lists down. Today, it is clear that he has broken that promise and he must urgently set out a plan to turn things around.”

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