Record 5.83 million waiting for NHS hospital care


lmost a million Londoners are waiting for hospital treatment as the pandemic backlog took demand on the NHS to a record new high.

Across England, 5.83 million people were waiting by the end of September — up from 5.72 million a month earlier and almost 1.5 million on a year ago.

In London, 944,236 people were awaiting hospital care. The longest lists were at Barts Health (100,840), Royal Free London (93,042) and Guy’s and St Thomas’ (82,146).

The monthly figures from NHS England also laid bare the huge demand for emergency care, with a record 1,012,143 calls answered by the 999 hotline. This resulted in ambulances taking an average of nine minutes and 20 seconds to reach the most life-threatening calls, against a target of seven minutes.

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More than 1.3 million 999 calls were made but about 300,000 were abandoned due to delays in getting through. London Ambulance Service was the best-performing service, with an average “category one” response of seven minutes, two seconds. However “category two” calls were taking almost 50 minutes in London and almost 54 minutes nationally, against a target of 18 minutes.

Fiona Myint, vice president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said: “Lengthening delays and cancellations are becoming a source of frustration for patients … lives are effectively on hold.”

The charity Versus Arthritis said operations such as hip and knee replacements had been worst affected. Tracey Loftis, its head of policy, said: “People lives are being destroyed as they languish on waiting lists.”

NHS England said major A&Es treated more than 1.4 million people in October — the highest ever for the month and third highest of all time.

Laws requiring care home staff to be double-jabbed came into force today. Minister Paul Scully said: “I would hope and expect that those people would have that duty of care to the people they are there to serve and protect.”


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