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Record 7.47 million patients now on NHS waiting list

13 Jul 2023

NHS performance data published today (13 July) show the waiting list for NHS consultant-led hospital treatment has grown again to a record 7,472,052. There are also concerns that the recovery of waiting lists for children is not keeping pace with that of adults. 

In a joint statement published earlier this week, medical leaders warned children’s waiting lists are growing at double the rate of adult lists. 

Looking at the total waiting list, the number of patients waiting more than 78 weeks for treatment is sitting at 11,446. There were also 96,801 patients waiting over 65 weeks. The NHS England elective recovery plan has set a target to eliminate waits of over 65 weeks by April 2024. 

Responding to today’s figures, Mr Tim Mitchell, Vice President and President-elect of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said: 

“It is disappointing but not unexpected to see the NHS waiting list grow to yet another record high this month. Despite the huge effort that NHS staff are putting in to get patients seen quickly, the situation remains challenging.

“The longer patients remain on waiting lists, the longer they aren’t able to get on with their lives. In the most serious cases, patients will be unable to work and will need support to carry out the day-to-day tasks that most of us take for granted. 

“In my own field of ENT, I see patients who have suffered hearing problems for months on end. This is particularly distressing when some of those patients are children whose development can be seriously impacted without timely treatment.

“The NHS workforce plan has promised more doctors and nurses, which will be a huge help in the long term. In the short term, we need to focus on retaining the excellent staff that we already have, improving their working environment and the culture of the organisations they work in, so that they can get on with the job of cutting waiting lists.”
Patients waiting for operations such as hip and knee replacements and general surgeries such as gallbladder removals and hernia repairs continue to face the longest waits. Today’s figures reveal 816,599 patients waiting for Trauma & Orthopaedics, 613,655 waiting for Ear, Nose & Throat treatment, and 447,877 waiting for General Surgery.  


Notes to editors

1. NHS performance statistics on referral to treatment waiting times published today are available here: 

2. Signatories to the joint statement on the waiting times for children’s surgery are as follows: 

Professor Neil Mortensen, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
Mr Ian Sugarman, British Association of Paediatric Surgeons (BAPS)
Dr Camilla Kingdon, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH)
Professor Duncan Summerton, President of the Federation of Surgical Specialty Associations (FSSA)
Dr Simon Courtman, President of the Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (APAGBI)

3. We have taken into account estimates for missing data in May 2023 for consultant-led Referral to Treatment (RTT) waiting times.

4. The Royal College of Surgeons of England provides world-class education, assessment and development to 30,000 surgeons, dental professionals and members of the wider surgical and dental care teams, at all stages of their career. Our vision is to see excellent surgical care for everyone. We do this by setting professional standards, facilitating research and championing the best outcomes for patients.

5. For more information, please contact the Press Office: Telephone: 020 7869 6053/6054/6047; Email:; Out-of-hours media enquiries: 0207 869 6056.

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