Record 6.8m people waiting for hospital treatment in England | NHS

Liz Truss has been given a clear view of the dire state of the NHS after new figures showed millions of people in England they often faced record delays in accessing vital medical care.

one leader National Health Service The expert said long waits for care, diagnostic tests and hospital beds showed Britain’s new prime minister “inherits a critically ill NHS”.

The total number of people in England awaiting hospital treatment rose again to a record 6.8 million at the end of July, almost one in eight of the population.

Waiting lists in England

Patients also face 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 England’s NHS “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 tooth replacement. a joint, 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 report. performance data published by NHS England.

The data showed ministers and NHS chiefs falling short on their promise to eradicate two-year waits by the end of July; By then, 2,885 such cases had not been resolved, despite great efforts by hospitals to meet the goal.

Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, accused the Conservatives of breaking their promise.

Nigel Edwards, chief executive of health think tank Nuffield Trust, said: “These figures clearly show the monumental challenge facing the new prime minister and health secretary in delivering on the NHS.”

He said that in August more than 130,000 patients were left waiting more than four hours in accident and emergency units for a hospital bed.

“These waits are now worse than in previous winters. The new prime minister inherits a critically ill NHS,” she said.

truss has declared the NHS as one of his “top three priorities” and pledged to “put our health service on a firm footing”. Thérèse Coffey, the health secretary who is also Truss’s deputy prime minister, is expected to unveil an “emergency plan” next week to deal with rapidly deteriorating service.

Although ambulance response times across England in August were better than in July, the service failed to meet any of its targets across its four main call categories: life-threatening, emergency, urgent and non-urgent.

Response times for patients with suspected stroke or heart attack were better than in July, when it took ambulance crews an average of 59 minutes to reach such patients. However, the 42 minute 44 second average seen in August was more than double the 18 minute target.

NHS data also showed that:

In July, 1,521,711 people were waiting for a diagnostic test, of which 424,605 ​​had been waiting for at least six months for a test that had to be carried out in six weeks.

hospitals it missed all but one of the targets covering patient access to cancer care.

Nearly 40% of cancer patients had to wait more than two months at most to start their treatment after being urgently referred by a GP.

The proportion of patients seen within four hours in hospital accident and emergency units was 58% in August, when it should be 95%.

emergency assistance

Richard Murray, chief executive of the King’s Fund, said the figures showed Truss “will now be responsible for a health and care service that is being shaken to its foundations as we head into the winter months amid a crisis of worsening staff”. ”.

Coffey has laid out his priorities in the acronym “ABCD”: ambulances, delays, care, doctors and dentists. However, Murray said she would need to address “systemic workforce shortages and sustained underfunding in social care” if the NHS is to return to normal.

At the end of August, 13,200 hospital beds were filled with patients who were medically fit to leave but could not be safely discharged, mainly due to a lack of social care.

NHS England sought to portray the figures in a more positive light. He stressed that “the number of patients awaiting tests and controls has fallen for the third consecutive month and is at the lowest level since the NHS launched its elective recovery plan, the largest and most ambitious recovery program in the history of the Health”.

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