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Surgery waiting lists hit 10-year high

Are elective care waits still being affected by winter pressures?


NHS waiting lists for elective treatment reached a 10-year high in April, according to an analysis by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).


After NHS England published statistics about the latest referral to treatment (RTT) waiting times for consultant-led elective care this week, the analysis by RCN staff revealed that some 500,068 people had waited more than 18 weeks for a planned procedure.


This figure is up by more than 30% compared with the same time last year and is the highest it has been since August 2008, when 520,564 people were waiting more than 18 weeks.


The RCN attributes the rise in delays to cancellations of non-urgent care during winter 2017/18 to relieve pressures on A&E departments.


Other figures from the analysis showed:

  • 4m patients were waiting to start treatment
  • 87.5% of patients waited longer than 18 weeks for treatment (the required standard is that 92% of patients should wait less than 18 weeks)
  • 2,882 patients had waited longer than 52 weeks.


Further information

RCN: Operation waiting lists reach 10-year high

NHS England: Consultant-led referral to treatment waiting times