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24,000 Patients Waiting 2 Years For Treatment

Updated: May 8

NHS waiting lists have been getting longer since the start of the pandemic, with nearly 24,000 people currently waiting more than two years to receive their treatment.

According to the latest figures from NHS England and NHS Improvement in January 2022, 23,778 patients had been waiting over 104 weeks since their referral, while as many as 311,528 had been waiting over a year.

The number of Brits who were on the waiting list for treatments at the end of January this year was as high as 6.1 million.

Nearly two-thirds of people on hospital waiting lists were waiting up to 18 weeks to begin their treatment, which demonstrates a failure to adhere to NHS targets.

The 18-week RTT target is stipulated in the Handbook to the NHS Constitution, stating patients have the right to start “consultant-led treatment within a maximum of 18 weeks from referral for non-urgent conditions”.

It goes on to say the NHS should ensure “not less than 92 per cent of [relevant patients for which they are responsible] have been waiting to commence treatment for less than 18 weeks”.

Cancer patients, in particular, have been neglected, with just 75 per cent of patients with suspect symptoms seen by a specialist within two weeks in January, compared with the target of 93 per cent.

Speaking to the Guardian, Even Byrne, director of advocacy at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “It is deeply troubling to see these figures now at yet another worst-ever record, as we know that any delay to diagnosis and treatment causes huge amounts of anxiety and distress for people living with cancer.”

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