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Twice as many patients waiting more than 18 weeks


The number of people who have long waits for NHS treatment has jumped 61% in one year, according to new figures.

Data for England shows 11,857 people in June had been waiting over six months for treatment, up from 7,360 in June 2010.

Of these, 718 people had been waiting more than a year for their NHS treatment to start, up on the 430 in June 2010.

The total number of people experiencing longer waits has been rising across the NHS since the coalition came into power.

Figures out earlier this month showed the number waiting more than four hours in A&E has almost doubled in the last year, despite a drop in overall attendances.

And the number of people waiting more than six weeks for key NHS tests has almost quadrupled in the last year, although more tests were carried out.

The data shows around one in PCTs in England are not hitting the target for 90% of patients to be seen within 18 weeks.

This is more than double the figure a year ago.

The data shows that 31,483 patients were waiting longer than 18 weeks for treatment, up 9,063 on the figure for May 2010 when the government came into power.

Overall, the NHS is keeping to the target for 90% of NHS patients to be seen within 18 weeks but only because some trusts are outperforming and making up for those who fall short.

The government insists waiting times are stable.

Data calculated by the Department of Health shows that people occupying the mid-point in the range of waiting times had a 8.7 week wait in June this year.

It says comparable data shows waiting times have fluctuated between 7.6 weeks and 9.1 weeks since December 2008.

Health minister Simon Burns said: “Average waiting times are low and remain stable.

“The vast majority of patients still receive treatment within 18 weeks.

“We are committed to driving improvements in performance and the quality of care that the NHS provides - including keeping waiting times low.”

Shadow health secretary John Healey said: “Compared with last year, a third more patients are waiting longer than 18 weeks for hospital treatment and the situation is getting worse by the month.

“With the figures also showing a doubling since May 2010 in the number of patients waiting over a year for treatment, it is clear that people can’t trust David Cameron to keep his NHS promises.

“The NHS is starting to go backwards again under the Tories.

“Instead of concentrating efforts on improving services for patients, ministers have spent a wasted year forcing through their reckless and damaging NHS reorganisation.”



Readers' comments (9)

  • What a surprise!!!!!

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  • what do you expect, the tories are in my case!!!!

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  • Anonymous | 19-Aug-2011 12:39 pm Don't be a fool, the LibDems are in government too! And Labour were just as bad!

    But seriously, what the hell do they expect to happen when they are scrapping wards and culling the staff? Do they expect the numbers of patients will go down too?

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  • Sorry Mike Labour were just as bad?? They were the ones who introduced targets for waiting times! before that hospitals could (and did ) literally keep people waiting years for operations. Say what you like about targets and fines, yes they had their downsides but i do believe they improved the service for patients who were waiting for appointments.

    The reason things are going backwards now is because of a lack of investment and because chief Execs are no longer willing to fund waiting list intiatives.

    Trusts need long term sustainable plans for how they will keep their waiting lists at a reasonable level, and investment in services, equipment and staff will have to be a part of that plan, wether this Government like it or not.

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  • tinkerbell

    Given the choice of 3 poisons which do you choose? Labour, tories, lib dem? Gobsmacked when the lib dems jumped into bed with the tories. Sank their ship for a happeth of tar and showed themselves to be the shower of shite they really are. What's left, maybe raving monster looney party to sort this mess out.

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  • Sarah, yes they were, in many, many areas. My point was not to get into a political debate on which we could both spend many hours I am sure, but to dismiss the simplistic, inane, superficial, annoying phrase 'oh it's all the Tories fault!' As if they are the sole cause of all the NHS's ills.

    Now, when you state "Trusts need long term sustainable plans for how they will keep their waiting lists at a reasonable level, and investment in services, equipment and staff will have to be a part of that plan, wether this Government like it or not." I absolutely agree with you. The answer is not in trust execs (who are generally unfit for purpose anyway) or 'waiting list initiatives', the answers lay in getting MORE hospitals, MORE beds and MUCH MORE staff!!! The population is increasing rapidly, and those needing care are increasing exponentially, so cutting services and cutting staff, THAT is what is causing waiting times to go up. It's basic common sense.

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  • This makes me sooo mad!

    I used to be a Snr Nurse in an Acute Trust and was responsible for group of patients who went on the waiting list for surgery.

    I found out that the waiting list was being manipulated extstensively so the Trust looked as though it was achieving KPI's fantastically and had a very short waiting list. It was being manipulated so well by snr management that in some instances it took 14 months + for some patients to make it onto the waiting list.

    I highlighted this through the management chain with all the evidence.......and yep I was ignored all the way until the code of conduct was quoted, thats when the bullying and harrassment started!

    It ended up at the DOH and No 10, they listened to me thank the Lord. They could see what was happening.........I was off sick with stress and depression. The CEO was dissmissed immediately and went overnight, following week, the Chief Operating Officer sacked and went overnight, then the Surgical Division was wiped out and sacked.

    Me retired off on ill health grounds at the tender age of 36!

    I went through hell, but hold my head up very high knowing that I did what I needed to for my patients.......I did listen to my nurse tutors at the age of 17 and the Code of Conduct that the UKCC had issued and then of course the NMC!

    Now, I am an agency nurse and love it......I would do it all again if I had too, no regrets.

    Patients first and always will be!

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  • firstly I find it very hard to accept that anybody who has the priviledge to land themselves a job in the NHS can be so dishonest.

    secondly we are talking here about human lives and the detrimental effects waiting can have on them. nobody appears to care. brits seem to accept it as normal and proudly present their stats. without actually doing anything to improve the situation. they prefer to sit on their butts all day and grow fat and expect others to look after them and sort out all their problems while a few actually work hard and pay their taxes to include those who cannot pay on the healthcare bill.

    Life in britain if you cant get decent healthcare and especially the elderly and the young is total rubbish and a scandal of which you should be totally ashamed instead of repeatedly merely reporting what is going on with clearly not the least intentions of taking any action beyond defending your own skin and your own salaries to perpetuate this appalling way of life at the cost of others !

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  • in hospitals and gp clinics learn to respect and treat patients as human beings instead of animals in a zoo - who are in fact often treated with far more kindness and compassion!

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