Published on 20/08/2013
There are more patients waiting for NHS treatment today than any other time in the past five years, according to new figures from the Government.
NHS queues are at a five-year high
The number of people currently waiting for treatment from the NHS is 2.88 million, an increase of 300,000 since the start of 2013.
The figures were released by NHS England and have forced David Cameron to give £500m to the worst-affect hospitals.
Ministers have pointed to increasing pressure on A&E services which have to care for a million additional patients looking for emergency care.
This has had a knock-on effect on the NHS with non-urgent operations side-lined as hospitals prioritise emergency and non-elective pressures.
The waiting lists, which are the number of people waiting for treatment from their initial referral, has been an average of 2.5 million for the past few years but now stands just under 2.9 million.
Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s health spokesman, said: "Thousands of extra patients are facing the agony of a long-awaited operation being cancelled as overflowing A&E departments need more and more hospital beds. Whole hospitals are being consumed by the crisis in A&E.”
Monitor, the NHS regulator, is concerned about the number of elective surgeries and non-urgent operations being cancelled as the NHS deals ‘with increased A&E and non-elective pressures’.
At present the NHS is dealing with 4 million more outpatient appointments and 2.4 million more diagnostic tests than it was three years ago. This could point to a demand and supply problem as more people look to use the NHs it drives waiting times and waiting lists up, despite a similar amount of spending.
Health insurance can allow you to see a top consultant at a private hospital letting you avoid lengthy NHS waiting lists.
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