The variety of individuals ready for hospital therapy in England has hit a document excessive of 5.7 million, because the NHS struggles to clear the rising backlog of care worsened by the pandemic.
The ready listing is rising by about 100,000 a month as extra individuals who didn’t search, or couldn’t entry, NHS therapy over the previous 18 months go to a GP and are referred to hospital.
In the meantime, accident and emergency departments handled greater than 1.39 million sufferers in September – the very best quantity recorded for the month, in keeping with figures from NHS England.
Prof Stephen Powis, the NHS nationwide medical director, mentioned: “There is no such thing as a doubt the NHS is working sizzling, with the highest-ever variety of sufferers seen in A&E in September – 14 instances as many Covid sufferers in hospital in contrast with the identical month final yr and document 999 ambulance calls.”
Ready lists for procedures corresponding to a hip or knee alternative or cataract elimination proceed to develop. On the finish of August, 5.7 million individuals have been ready to start out therapy, in keeping with the NHS England information. That is the very best quantity since data started in August 2007.
The variety of individuals having to attend greater than 52 weeks to start out therapy was 292,138 in August, down from 293,102 within the earlier month however greater than double the quantity ready a yr earlier, in August 2020, which was 111,026.
Senior medical doctors mentioned the figures, printed on Thursday morning, have been alarming.
Dr Tim Cooksley, the president of the Society for Acute Medication, mentioned: “This information presents a worrying image as we’re shifting additional away from an NHS that may present the very best care to all who want it promptly and nearer to 1 which may solely deal with these most critically unwell.
“Even then it’s with a threadbare workforce that has been run into the bottom, and there may be widespread concern about winter given the NHS was in a weak place heading into the pandemic and is now rebuilding on the again foot.
“There is no such thing as a doubt this raises security issues and, sadly, many individuals can be ready longer for his or her care and it’ll not be delivered to the requirements they need to count on as providers wrestle to take care of workload.”
Nearly 370,000 sufferers in England had been ready greater than six weeks for a key diagnostic check in August.
A complete of 369,086 sufferers have been ready for one among 15 normal assessments, together with an MRI scan, non-obstetric ultrasound or gastroscopy. The equal quantity ready for greater than six weeks in August 2020 was 472,517, whereas in August 2019, earlier than the pandemic, there have been 42,926.
Well being leaders warn demand for care remains to be growing quickly throughout the NHS.
A ballot of 170 leaders from 119 trusts, additionally printed on Thursday, reveals important issues about entry to care. NHS Suppliers, which represents well being trusts and carried out the survey, has warned that clearing the backlog of care brought on by the pandemic might take years.
Saffron Cordery, the deputy chief govt of NHS Suppliers, mentioned: “Belief leaders are combating fires on a number of fronts as they attempt to get well care backlogs, take care of elevated demand for emergency care, deal with sufferers with Covid-19 and put together for what’s prone to be essentially the most difficult winter but for the NHS.
“In a matter of weeks, we’ll face our first winter the place each flu and Covid are in circulation. NHS workers are doing all they will to bear down on the care backlog – however the actuality on the frontline is that even a small enhance in flu, Covid-19 admissions or emergency care attendance will actually enhance the stress on the service.”
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