More than 1,000 extra patients on treatment waiting list at Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust
NHS England has announced it is investing £160 million finding new ways of tackling the vast backlog of care
More than 1,000 extra patients joined the waiting list for routine treatment at Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust in April, figures reveal.
As the NHS waiting list across England topped five million patients for the first time, the Health Foundation called for urgent investment to bring the situation under control.
NHS England statistics show 35,192 patients were waiting for non-urgent consultant-led care at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust at the end of April - 1,289 more than the 33,903 the month before.
The figure was also a 21 per cent increase on the 29,106 on the waiting list in April last year.
At Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, 22,628 patients were waiting for non-urgent consultant-led care at the end of April - 637 fewer than the 23,265 the month before, but still a four per cent increase on the 21,807 on the waiting list in April last year.
Across England, the number of people waiting for treatment rose by 171,720 from almost five million in March to 5.1 million in April – the highest number since records began in August 2007.
The Health Foundation said the backlog offered a "stark reminder" of the task ahead for the NHS, adding greater investment as well as support for innovative ideas was needed.
Tim Gardner, senior policy fellow, said: "Making incremental improvements to business as usual, while important, will not be enough to address a challenge of this scale."
Meanwhile, The King’s Fund said the government needed to be honest with patients about the time it would take to bring waiting lists under control.
Deborah Ward, senior analyst at the think tank, said: “For those with more severe conditions, long waits could mean months spent in increasing pain or facing the prospect that treatment will be less effective."
NHS rules state that patients referred for non-urgent consultant-led elective care should start treatment within 18 weeks.
But the figures show 5,937 had been waiting more than a year for treatment at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust in April – down from 6,556 in March but far higher than the 106 who had been waiting this long in April last year.
There were even 33 patients on the list who had been waiting for more than two years at the end of April.
Across England, the number of patients waiting more than a year fell to 385,490 in April, from 436,127 in March.
However, this was still a vast increase on the 11,042 in April 2020.
NHS England said the data showed operations and other routine care were "ahead of ambitions" set out in April.
The organisation announced last month it was investing £160 million on an initiative to find new ways of tackling the vast backlog of care.
Prof Stephen Powis, national medical director for NHS England, said: "Despite the extensive disruption to care caused by the pandemic, it’s encouraging that today’s figures show routine operations, cancer and mental health care have now all rebounded sharply."