The King’s Fund think tank warned the waiting list for planned care in England is continuing to climb towards levels not seen since the waiting times crisis in the 1990s.
NHS England figures show 37,834 patients were waiting for non-urgent consultant-led care at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust – which runs Mansfield Community, Sutton’s King’s Mill and Newark hospitals – at the end of August, 1 per cent more than 37,304 the month before.
The figure was also an increase of 16 per cent on the 32,610 on the waiting list in August last year.
Across England, the number of people waiting for treatment rose by 109,000 from 5.6 million in July to 5.7m in August – the highest since records began in 2007.
Siva Anandaciva, The King’s Fund chief analyst, said the Government’s upcoming Spending Review must address the pile-up of maintenance issues with NHS buildings and staffing challenges within the service, or ‘risk undermining efforts to reduce the waiting list backlog’.
NHS rules state patients referred for non-urgent consultant-led elective care should start treatment within 18 weeks.
But the figures show 11,223 people on the waiting list in August had been waiting longer than this for treatment – down from 11,330 in July and up from 10,522 in August last year.
Of them, 1,136 had been waiting more than a year for treatment, including three who had been waiting for at least two years.
Prof Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: “There is no doubt the NHS is running hot, with the highest ever number of patients seen in A&E in September, 14 times as many Covid patients in hospital compared with the same month last year and a record 999 ambulance calls.
“But despite the busiest September on record, NHS staff have moved heaven and earth to make the best possible use of additional investment delivering millions more tests, checks, treatments and operations.
“That is why it is important people do not delay seeking help from the NHS if they feel unwell.”