NHS waiting list passes 3m for first time in six years

The number of people waiting for NHS treatment has hit three million for the first time in six years, amid warnings that the growing demand for care means it could soon start routinely missing key targets.

The latest official figures from NHS England show that in April a total of 2,993,108 patients were on the waiting list for treatment, supposedly within 18 weeks. However, the real total was more than three million because six hospital trusts did not submit data due to computer problems.

That was the highest number since the 3,057,163 recorded in March 2008 and led to claims by Labour that millions of people were now waiting in pain and discomfort to have an operation and that David Cameron had breached a key pledge.


Wholly unsatisfactory news story. Big crisis and finger-pointing, but no information given regarding the cause or solution, other than “both performance problems and financial problems.”

More doctors needed?
Hospitals closed?
Insufficient money?
Financial mismanagement and theft?
Spike in diesases?

We have no idea what the cause is.

Also no information given regarding the true severity of the problem. The word “treatment” is undefined. There is allusion that “treatment” means “surgery” but the article delicately tap-dances around that point. Treatment could mean “routine check-ups.” We also have no clue about how many people are need urgent case vs. how many people want nose jobs.

“The number of people waiting for NHS treatment has hit three million…” What kind of treatment? Open heart surgery? Mosquito bites?

“…millions of people were now waiting in **pain and discomfort **to have an operation…” How many of them are experiencing disabling pain, vs. how many want nose jobs?

“We know **elective waiting lists **always tend to grow at this time of year…” So they’re not really sick, just inconvenienced.

“…targets to treat patients in A&E (emergency) units and with cancer were being missed…” What targets: Short turn-around? Numbers treated? Effectiveness of treatment? Hospital working hours? By how much? How often?

I know this article was printed in The Guardian, but I still expected better.

Here is an article that gives a few more details.

That article is a little better, but it still doesn’t give enough information to answer the objections.

“The health service is meant to ensure that at least 90 per cent of patients are treated within this time [18 weeks] but the figure fell to 89.9 per cent in February, meaning that around 400 waited longer.”

So it’s not 3.1 millon waiting over 18 weeks like the Guardian hinted. It’s 400. Four hundred. And we still have no information whether those 400 required urgent medical attention.

I suspect they didn’t.

“There are now 2.89million waiting for surgery or other hospital procedures, including nearly 550 who have been waiting for more than a year.”

Wait a minute. 400 waited more than 18 weeks, but 550 waited more than a year?

It seems the Mail needs a new proofreader / fact checker.

I think it’s just poorly written. The info comes from a report just released by the government. UK waiting stats

That does help, a lot. I wish the Mail had referenced the source, rather than just citing “a report” from NHS.

The Guardian, OTOH, was completely misleading.

It almost seems like both articles were written more as political hit pieces than actual news.

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