NHS waiting list for routine treatment breaches 5MILLION for first time ever as Covid backlog continues to spiral amid fears rise of Indian variant could make crisis even worse

  • NHS England figures show 5.12 million people are waiting for hospital services
  • About 400,000 have waited a year for care, while 2,600 have waited two years
  • Experts warn that plans to end lockdown may be delayed

More than 5 million people in England are now awaiting treatment in an NHS hospital – the highest number ever recorded.

Official figures released today showed that the number now stands at 5.12 million, and has been rising steadily since the start of the COVID pandemic.

The data released for the first time also revealed the true extent of the NHS backlog, with around 65,000 patients waiting at least 18 months for routine operations such as hip and knee replacements.

About 2,700 patients have been untreated within two years.

Critics slammed the ‘grave milestone’ today, calling on ministers to make tackling the ‘huge’ backlog their top priority. The Royal College of Surgeons described the data on patients waiting at least a year as ‘particularly disturbing’.

Hospitals focused on treating coronavirus patients during the first and second wave canceled thousands of non-urgent procedures.

Health chiefs fear non-Covid care could be threatened again if the rapid spread of the Indian variant – which has left hopes of an ‘Independence Day’ at knifepoint – causes hospitalizations.

Vaccines have broken the link between cases and severe disease, but SAGE consultants still fear the mutant strain could trigger a ‘substantial’ third wave.

People over 50 have not yet been fully vaccinated and data suggests a single dose is slightly less effective than the delta version, which has given the NHS more time to eliminate top-up jabs. Has called for number 10 to delay to June 21.

Highest number of people on NHS waiting list ever at 5.12 million

Meanwhile, data from NHS England showed the number of patients waiting more than a year for care reached 385,940 in April.

That was a drop of 50,000 from March – but still 240 times more than the 1,613 who were forced to wait long before the first wave hit.

Figures show 223,780 people were admitted to hospitals for routine treatment in April, compared to 41,121 in the same month last year – when Covid began to overtake the NHS.

Separate NHS England figures released today show that more than 2 million people attended A&E in May, the highest number since January 2020.

The number of A&E visits dropped to 916,575 in April 2020, the lowest number since records began in 2010, as people stayed home in lockdown for fear of catching COVID.

The number of Britons who fall ill with Covid every day is around 12,000 in a week. exceeds

A symptom-tracking study warned today that the number of Britons who have fallen ill with Covid has more than doubled in a week amid the rapid spread of the Indian version across the UK.

An estimated 11,908 people across the UK were catching the virus every day for the week ending 5 June, a 109 percent increase from 5,677 the previous week, according to a ZOE Covid study.

Disturbing figures add to growing fears about England’s planned final lockdown on ‘Independence Day’ on 21 June, scientist behind surveillance study admits situation has ‘changed rapidly’ due to mutant ‘Delta’ strain is.

Professor Tim Spector, an epidemiologist at King’s College London, said the spiraling number of cases was due to ‘increased social interactions and a new dominant variant that is highly transmitted’.

But he added: ‘It is clear that this is an epidemic among the non-vaccinated and partially vaccinated population in the UK and the way vaccines have been rolled out is affecting the younger generations to a great extent. is.

‘The vaccines are working and we want to encourage people to take precautions, especially if they feel unwell, until they have been fully vaccinated. The race is on to completely vaccinate the entire population to save lives and return to normal life.

Meanwhile, Test and Trace data released today showed the number of positive caregivers in England increased by about 45 per cent last week. More than 25,000 people who were swamped in the seven-day span ending June 2 had Covid, up from 17,000 a week earlier.

This was despite about 850,000 fewer tests being conducted. The data also showed that the number of people taking rapid COVID tests has fallen to its lowest level for three months – despite all members of the public being eligible to take two rapid tests a week.

Top scientists at No10 fear the mutant Indian strain may be up to 60 percent more transmissible than the once-dominant Kent variant and SAGE modellers fear it will trigger a ‘substantial’ third wave – three-quarters of adults Despite vaccination.


Since the start of the pandemic, the number of people attending the emergency department each month has not risen above 1.8 million.

NHS data also shows that GPs made 209,452 urgent cancer referrals in April, more than double the previous year’s number of 80,031.

Urgent referrals where breast cancer symptoms were present – although not initially suspected – increased from 3,866 in April 2020 to 14,259 in April 2021.

NHS England’s national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said it was ‘encouraging’ that data showed routine operations, cancer and mental health care have ‘rebounded rapidly’ after the ‘widespread disruption’ caused by the pandemic.

He said the NHS is ‘committed to restoring services to pre-pandemic levels’.

But critics dismissed the figures.

England’s Royal College of Surgeons has urged the government to make fixing time its “top priority”.

Its Vice President Tim Mitchell said: ‘Today we have sadly reached the grim milestone of over 5 million people on NHS hospital waiting lists in England.

‘The really long wait of more than a year, and in some cases more than two years, is particularly troubling. These are the people waiting for…


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