Hospital waiting lists reach a record high of 7.57 million

Hospital waiting lists reach a record high of 7.57 million

The latest NHS figures show that the hospital backlog in England has slightly increased over the past month, with the waiting list reaching 7.57 million at the end of April, up from 7.54 million the previous month. This issue has been highlighted as a key election concern after the prime minister included it in his list of government priorities.

Although there were initial signs of the waiting list decreasing, it is still lower than the peak of 7.77 million in September. However, more than 300,000 patients have been waiting for treatment for over a year. The fluctuation in the waiting list size month-by-month was anticipated by models, which predicted a period of stability following the rapid increases seen during the pandemic.

In addition to the backlog, targets for waiting times in A&E and ambulance response times continue to be missed. Siva Anandaciva from the King’s Fund emphasized that the NHS is under immense pressure, even during the traditionally quieter spring and early summer months. The NHS remains a top concern for voters as the general election approaches.

Moreover, the Royal College of Radiologists has raised concerns about increasing delays in cancer care across the UK. Nearly half of all specialist cancer centers are experiencing delays on a regular basis, with a significant rise in the number of centers reporting severe delays compared to the previous year. Workforce shortages, including a 30% shortfall in radiologists and a 15% shortfall in clinical oncologists, are contributing to the backlog in cancer care.

As demand for healthcare services continues to increase, the challenges faced by the NHS are likely to persist. It is essential for policymakers to address these issues and prioritize solutions to ensure timely and effective healthcare delivery for all patients.