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Half a million patients now waiting over 18 weeks for hospital treatment

14 Jun 2018

Press notice for immediate release – Thursday 14 June, 2018

The number of patients waiting longer than the recommended 18 weeks to start planned NHS hospital treatment has officially exceeded 500,000 – the highest number in almost a decade.

NHS England ‘referral to treatment’ (RTT) statistics for April 2018 published today show that 500,068 patients waited more than 18 weeks to start planned treatment. This is the highest figure since August 2008, when 520,000 people were waiting 18 weeks or more for planned treatment.  Moreover, as only 87.5% were seen within 18 weeks, this means the government’s target of 92% of patients being seen within 18 weeks has now not been met in more than two years – since February 2016.  The number of patients waiting longer than 18 weeks for planned treatment in April 2017 was 382,488.

The data today also shows NHS England and NHS Improvement are already missing their target of ensuring that by March 2019 the waiting list size does not exceed the level at March 2018 (3.84 million patients), with over 4 million patients on the waiting list – officially for the first time. Unofficially the waiting list size is estimated by NHS England to be at 4.2 million.

Mr Ian Eardley, Vice President of the Royal College of Surgeons and Consultant Urologist, said: 

“It is very worrying that there are now half a million patients waiting for planned hospital treatment.  Disappointingly, and despite the efforts of frontline staff, NHS waiting lists have now ballooned to levels that we have not seen since 2008.  These patients are people who have been diagnosed with a condition that requires hospital treatment by a consultant doctor and a high proportion of them will be for operations, such as a hip a knee replacement.

“We’re now in June and yet it remains unclear how the NHS plans to catch up with the planned surgery backlog caused by the winter pressures.

“If patients have to wait excessively long for surgery there is a risk their condition will deteriorate and the treatment will be less effective. It is also very distressing - and debilitating for someone who is living with a painful condition - to have to wait a long time for treatment.”

Notes to editors

  1. Full data is available here:https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/combined-performance-summary/
  1. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.
  2. For more information, please contact the Press Office:

Telephone: 020 7869 6041

Email:pressoffice@rcseng.ac.uk

Out-of-hours media enquiries: 07966 486832

 


 

The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.

For more information, please contact the Press Office:

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