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100-fold increase in the number of people waiting a year for hospital treatment

12 Nov 2020

Referral-to-Treatment (RTT) statistics published today show 100 times more people were waiting over a year for elective hospital treatment in September, compared to the previous year: 139,545 patients had waited over 52 weeks for treatment in September of this year, compared to 1,305 patients in September 2019. 

Professor Neil Mortensen, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England said:

“Today’s figures really bring home the impact of COVID on other NHS services. Thousands of patients who were already waiting for surgery when COVID struck, have paid a heavy price.  It is tragic to see so many lives put on hold.

“Each statistic represents someone waiting patiently, potentially in pain, for the treatment they need to get on with living an independent life.  Older people and poorer people are particularly hard hit by these delays. 

“We still have a tough winter to get through, but looking ahead to next year, our ambition must be that no one should have to wait more than a year for surgery again. The NHS needs a ‘new deal’ to get back on track after the devastation caused by the pandemic, with extra investment from government in hospital beds and staff.”



Notes to editors

  1. RTT statistics for September were published at 09.30am this morning here:
  2.  The stats show a deterioration in long waits, with 139,545 patients waiting over 52 weeks for treatment in September 2020. In September 2019 there were 1,305 patients waiting longer than a year, representing a year-on-year increase of a factor of more than 100.
  3.  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 RCS Press Office:

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