Hospital waiting times drop slightly for first time since Covid pandemic


An ambulance arriving at an Emergency Department (A&E) at the Royal London hospital in London (Picture: PA)

A total of 7.19 million people were waiting to start hospital treatment at the end of November – a light drop from record-high in NHS history.

This is down slightly from 7.21 million in October, which was the highest number since records began in August 2007.

According to NHS England data, an estimated 406,575 patients had been waiting more than 52 weeks to start their treatment at the end of November.

This is down from 410,983 at the end of October and is the first month-on-month fall since February last year.

Tories have set the ambition of eliminating all waits of more than a year by March 2025.

But with the NHS experiencing some of the most severe pressures in its 70-year history, this seems unlikely.

The NHS faces one of the worst winters in its history with more than seven million people waiting for hospital treatment (Picture: EPA)

This is a snapshot of the crisis the health service is experiencing as we enter 2023.

Some 1,423 people are estimated to have been waiting more than two years at the end of November.

This is again down slightly from 1,907 at the end of October and is well below the peak of 23,778 in January 2022.

The Government and NHS England set the ambition to eliminate all waits of more than two years by last July, except when it is the patient’s choice or for complex cases requiring specialist treatment.

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