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Hospital waiting lists in England reach five year high

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 19 August 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5191
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. 1London

The number of patients waiting for hospital treatment in England has risen to almost 2.9 million—a five year high—latest figures show.

NHS England published statistics on 15 August showing the latest data on waiting times from referral to treatment in the NHS for June 2013.1 They showed that there were around 2.88 million patients waiting to start treatment at the end of June 2013. This compares with around 2.5 million patients waiting at the end of each month since October 2008. At the end of 2012, there were 2.56 million waiting to start treatment.

In June 2013, patients faced a medium wait from GP referral to start of treatment of 5.7 weeks, which is the same as in June 2012.

Commenting on the figures, the Department of Health said that the NHS was “performing well”—treating over a million patients a month—and that average waiting times were “low and stable.”

A spokesman said, “The number of patients waiting longer than 18 weeks is nearly 55 000 lower than in May 2010 and the number of people waiting for more than a year to start treatment is the lowest it has ever been. Accident and emergency departments have been seeing 95% of their patients within four hours since the end of April.”

But a Labour spokesman said that the “crisis” in emergency departments was getting worse every week. “The most recent official figures show that almost one third of major A&E units missed the government’s lowered waiting target, with patients waiting longer to be seen or held in the back of queuing ambulances,” he said.


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5191


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