NHS waiting list shoots to ANOTHER record high
The number of people in England waiting for routine hospital treatment has soared to another record high.
NHS data shows there were 7.21million patients queuing for operations in January — nearly 3m more than pre-Covid levels.
While the number waiting more than a year for elective procedures has fallen, one in 20 people stuck in the mammoth backlog are forced to wait this long.
And for the first time ever, nearly half of cancer patients didn't start treatment within two months of an urgent GP referral — marking the worst figure since records began over a decade ago.
Top oncologists said the 'devastating figure' means more than 7,000 cancer patients were let down in January and warned the figure will 'continue to swell'.
Data from NHS England shows the number of people waiting for routine hospital treatment jumped by 13,000 in January to 7.21million.
It means there is 64 per cent more people stuck in the queue compared to before Covid struck. Many of these will be in agonising pain.
Some 379,245 — 5.3 per cent of those in the backlog — had been waiting at least 12 months.
And 45,631 people had been waiting for at least 18 months. Although that figure has since fallen to around the 32,000 mark.
However, 485,956 patients were waiting more than six weeks for a key diagnostic test in January, including an MRI scan, non-obstetric ultrasound or gastroscopy. This is the highest level since summer 2020.